By Frances Wang

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A 94-year-old World War II veteran in need is getting help thanks to many of our generous CBS4 viewers.

Leo McLarney was a first-class petty officer who served in Pearl Harbor.

The roof of the home he built in Cutler Bay was severely damaged nearly two years ago by Hurricane Irma. At the time, a crew patched up the areas with blue tarps. They were meant to be a temporary fix, but he never received a permanent solution.

His daughter, Regina McLarney-Crowley, said they don’t have the money to replace the room and have been fighting for some sort of assistance just to get it fixed. The funds McLarney does have goes to his 24-hour caretaker.

In the day or so since CBS4’s exclusive story aired about his plight, online donations to CBS4’s Neighbors 4 Neighbors have been coming and the first steps to get this proud veteran a brand new roof have been taken.

“I’m overwhelmed and I’m used to juggling a lot of plates but oh my god the outpouring has been tremendous,” said McLarney-Crowley.

She added that so many people wanted to help, she couldn’t keep track of the emails. Meanwhile, McLarney couldn’t keep track of all the attention.

When asked about how he felt about the community’s response, McLarney said, “I feel like a million dollars!”

McLarney-Crowley felt that after 6 years of service to his country, it was time people provided a service for her dad.

“I know from experience what it’s like to live with someone who was affected so many years ago and still carries the scars of war,” said McLarney-Crowley.

Additionally, the Irma Long Term Recovery agency in Miami-Dade has assigned a case manager to evaluate what other needs there made be and what resources are available. There is concern that since roof has been leaking for years, there may be other problems and mold remediation may be needed.

The case managers in charge say they’re not sure how long it’s going to take as there are contractors and permits involved.

On Friday, they began with the mold assessment. On Saturday, a crew will come and re-tarp the roof for free.

The only concern now is will McLarney let the crews do their jobs?

“There’s nobody who can do it like him, therefore nobody can do it,” laughed McLarney-Crowley. “He still wants to get in there and tell them how to do it [and] he’s still commanding the job!”

When asked if he’ll be watching, McLarney nodded.

“Especially in my garage, with all my tools. They disappear quick!” joked McLarney.

If you’d like to help, go to Neighbors 4 Neighbors, and select “Other” in the designation field and “Veteran Leo” in the dedication field. All credit cards are accepted. Donations are tax deductible.

Frances Wang

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