As we celebrate Memorial Day this weekend, those of us at USDA Rural Development would like to take a moment to remember the fallen. We also thank the veterans who served alongside them and who are helping keep their memories alive today.
Leon Kauzlarich from rural Appanoose County, Iowa, is one such veteran who will be getting out this Memorial Day to do just that. For decades, he has spent Memorial Day visiting rural cemeteries to place American flags on the graves of fallen soldiers. As a senior with mobility issues, however, he missed three recent Memorial Day observances, because he was unable to navigate the front steps and was completely homebound.
With the help of USDA Rural Development home repair grant paired with assistance from the Chariton Valley Regional Housing Trust Fund, Mr. Kauzlarich was able to finally make critical repairs to his home in early 2013. The funds were used to fix a leaking roof and plumbing, install new entry and storm doors, and build an outdoor ramp allowing Mr. Kauzlarich to come and go.
With the repairs completed, one of his first excursions was to resume his Memorial Day tradition last year.
His daughter told us, “This simple task was one that dad had done himself for well over 60 years, and it meant so much to him to again see that those soldiers were given their recognition! This memorable ride was the first time in over three years that dad was able to leave the confines of his home.”
“This means the world to dad and the Kauzlarich family! Knowing dad can safely get out of his house in case of an emergency eases my worries, too,” she continued.
This Memorial Day, USDA is proud to serve and recognize veterans like Mr. Leon Kauzlarich. Thank you, sir, for your service to all of us and for keeping the memory of our fallen soldiers alive.