When 92-year-old WWII vet Louis C. Hicks discovered some power tools were missing from the shed behind his house, he called 911 to report the theft. All he wanted was for the Austin Police Department to go catch the guy, but when Officer Chasity Salazar showed up on his doorstep to gather more information, she insisted on taking a quick peek inside the elderly man’s home.
Louis knew he couldn’t hide what he was cooking up in his kitchen, but when the cop left the dangerous scene exactly as she found it, he probably figured that the law enforcement officer wouldn’t bother him again. He had no idea that the cop wasn’t actually done with her detective work, and was planning to return with some backup to curtail the explosive consequences of what he had done.
Louis served the needs of his country during World War II, but when it comes to taking care of his own needs, the staunchly proud man is old fashioned. Thankfully, Officer Salazar saw all the signs of someone who desperately needed assistance, and decided to take action on behalf of his unspoken words.
The cop feared for the man’s safety not because of the robbery he reported, but because he was leaving the gas stove turned on to keep warm. She immediately turned to her colleagues for help, and thanks to the Austin Austin Police Association, Austin Cops 4 Charities, and St. David’s Foundation, Office Salazar was able to secure a new electric heater for the vet, free of charge!
Louis was reduced to tears when Officer Salazar and Officer Bino Cadenas made a followup visit to deliver the sweet surprise. The grateful man nearly choked on his words when he told told KVUE:
“I’ve never had no one to do nothing for me. After my mother passed away and left me to take care of my two sisters … nobody never did nothing to help me. You hate to ask anybody ’cause sometimes they’ll frown on you, and I’m a true veteran. I won’t ask. I won’t ask.”
Louis said that the old heater he had been using burned a hole in the floor, so he stopped using it. Since he was on a limited income, the poor man was forced to use the gas stove as a last resort.
Officer Salazar wasn’t just going above and beyond the call of duty that day. She was happy to have been given the opportunity to pay homage to a man who had done so much for his country.
“He’s just offered me a lot of kindness, too, so to know that he’s also served, and now I’m able to serve and give back to people like him.”
The community has rallied around to support Louis, and he’s super grateful for everyone’s generosity.
“It means everything. The things I’ve been trying to do since the ’40s…I’ve been asking for help. And now, it just came in. God is good.”
More help is on the way, and the Austin PD has a running wish list of all the items that Louis needs, such as underwear, shirts, and pants. With all the good that Louis has done in his past, it’s finally his turn to receive.
When a seasoned WWII vet is reduced to tears, you know you’ll end up bawling, too.