MIAMI (CBSMiami) – On June 6th, 1944, 150,000 allied troops invaded Europe at Normandy, France. The beginning of the land war that defeated Hitler and the Nazis would see nearly 4,500 Americans and allied soldiers killed.
Against his mother’s wishes, Charles Adderley of Miami went off to war at the age of 17, hit the beach on D-Day, and lived to tell about it, but often isn’t able. He tried to, unsuccessfully, on Wednesday.
“I really, I’ll be very honest, whenever I talk about it,” Adderley began, but could not go on, his voice choking with emotion.
It pains him to talk about the withering fire he and his comrades came under and the friends who did not make it off the beach or through the land war.
“I’m blessed. I was the one that was chosen to return,” Adderley said.
Adderley doesn’t discuss the details behind the honors he received, like the two Bronze Medals for heroism. His heroism was so remarkable that France gave him the highest award the nation can bestow.
But now the storied veteran finds himself fighting another battle.
His Miami home of half a century is falling apart. The roof leaks like a sieve, the ceilings and walls are collapsing, everything is infused with mold.
Veterans volunteer Audrey James noticed an odd odor while delivering Adderley groceries a couple of months ago.
“He said his roof was leaking, and he let me in to see, and buckets were everywhere and I said ‘I’m going to do what I got to do and I promise you,'” James said.
Her promise brought the cavalry to the decorated veteran.
Miami’s Trident Rugby Club, Miami police, Miami firefighters, the Volunteers of America and the Boy Scouts all came to help. The tasks are overwhelming.
“We have to take care of the landscaping, take care of the mold, the roofing repairs, the floors, the windows, you name it. That’s what the project has turned into,” said Vanessa Peña of Volunteers of America Florida.
There is plenty of elbow grease being donated and Home Depot will replace the roof. But removing the mold throughout the interior and exterior of the house will cost upwards of $10,000 and nothing can be done before that’s done.
Adderley, a proud man, has never been one to ask for help. In this case help came to him.
“That is something that has blown my mind,” Adderley said Wednesday, his home filled with volunteers packing up his things in preparation for major work yet to be done.
He thanks God, who brought him through D-Day and the war, for bringing him the kindness of strangers.
“Whatever he gives me, I accept that,” Adderley said tearfully.
If you can help Adderley, who helped his country so selflessly, tax deductible contributions can be made at a GoFundMe page that has been established. To donate, go here: gofundme.com/OperationHelpCharles.
Tax deductible contributions can also be made through Neighbors4Neighbors at donatenow.networkforgood.org. Be sure to note that your donation is intended for the Charles Adderley home restoration effort.