Gift from a stranger makes veteran's day

Posted at 8:10 AM, Dec 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-29 11:10:08-05
ALPINE -- Eduardo Diaz acted like a kid when he saw the van an Alpine family was giving to him. 
"Is there a chair in there?" he said with excitement. "Oh my God."
For years, Diaz struggled with a makeshift lift for his wheelchair, which does not always work. 
"I have fallen because you're trying to work with one hand while trying to keep balance with the other," Diaz said. 
Those days are now behind him. 
"It's hard not to let the emotion swell up and take over," he explained. "Although it's there."
The van came from strangers. 
"This did not come out of a salesroom," he said. 
It came from the Walker family. They worked with the Carter-Smith VFW Post 5867 and the Bert Fuller VFW Post 9578 to give him the van. It comes free of charge since he already paid a price when shrapnel struck his leg in Vietnam.
He hopped in the electric wheelchair and cheered as he took it for a test drive. 
It brought tears to Denis Walker's eyes. It was his dad's van. He too was a disabled vet and recently passed away. 
"They put their lives on the line and they served this country so that's what we wanted to do," Walker said. 
"This came from the deep inner parts of someone's heart," Diaz said. "From the hearts of my fellow veterans."
It means he does not have to ask for help. While it is new with a big bow, it doesn't need one. 
"It comes wrapped in bow of independence," Diaz added.