Volunteers help repair veterans' homes: Effort through Repair Corps, San Diego Habitat for Humanity

SAN DIEGO - A half dozen active-duty sailors and Marines from Naval Medical Center San Diego -- some of them wounded in action overseas -- arrived early Wednesday morning to help with repairs at the home of a local Pearl Harbor survivor.

"They came to honor me, but I'm honoring them," said 91-year-old veteran Stu Hedley.

Hedley was on the battleship USS West Virginia during the attack on Dec. 7, 1941. 

"I saw my best friend Johnny Anderson get blown in half," Hedley said to the veterans who stood in a circle around him.

Some of the wounded warriors who came to help with the repairs said his message of survival was inspirational.  

"These are things I struggle with daily and to know that if I get to his age, God willing, I can survive and come out of it," said Marine Cpl. Bolivar Flores, who had tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Hedley home is the second to be fixed up through the Repair Corps program with the San Diego Habitat for Humanity.  

"We have through the Home Depot Foundation enough money to do repairs on the homes of nine veterans, but we'd like to do more," said Lori Holt Pfeiler, the executive director for San Diego Habitat for Humanity.

Hedley and his wife Wanda moved into their home in 1958. When all is said and done, the home will sport a new backyard fence, new paint, new carpet and windows.  

"I'll be glad to get rid of the louvered windows," said Hedley's wife Wanda. "A lot of cold air comes through there."


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