DAV volunteers ramp it up in Moline for Korean War veteran

MOLINE, Illinois  -- Don Perez, 87, is one of the "Frozen Chosen."  During the Korean War, he survived battle in the bloody Chosin Reservoir.

Decades later, the Moline man now battles just trying to leave his own house.  That's why fellow veterans are lending a hand.

"He's my brother," said Ernest Ledtje, commander of the Disabled American Veterans chapter in the Quad Cities, on Wednesday, October 31.  "You put on the uniform, you're either my brother or my sister."

These veterans are signing on for another mission.

"A lot of hands make short work," said Ernest.

They're replacing unsteady stairs and installing a new ramp.  For Don Perez, it's like a miracle.

"It's really something," he said.  "It really makes me happy."

While the retired sergeant watches, the DAV crew gets to work.  For these guys, it's really a labor of love.

"It's a great feeling for them to be able to have some independence to do what they want, when they want, without having to bother somebody," Ledtje said.

Plus, it's only appropriate that a soldier like Don, who fought for freedom, will now enjoy more freedom in his own house.

"I'd have to hug the rails to get up and keep my balance," Don concluded.  "This way, I just roll right up the hill."

With the ramp soon a reality, it should end his struggles with steps.