Reporting Roseanne Tellez
(CBS) — On Memorial Day, we remember the servicemen and women who have given their lives for our country.
One southwest suburban family is honoring veterans by welcoming them into their home.
CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports.
Toby Tolmaire says his is a good life. But it hasn’t always been this way for the 89-year-old World War II vet.
“I’ve been sick for a long time. I’d been abused,” he says.
That was before he moved in with the Stryszak family of Burr Ridge.
The Stryszaks have also taken in vet Mike Blacconiere. Their home is an alternative to an institution or assisted living for the 82-year-old, who’s suffering from dementia.
“They get love dignity support. They’re treated like heroes and that’s who they are and that’s what they deserve,” says Joline Labedis, director of the medical foster home program sponsored by Hines VA Hospital.
“It was a no-brainer to help out a vet, or several vets actually, that have given for our country,” Ed Stryszak says.
The Stryszaks care for the men 24/7. But say the rewards are many. But even with a $2,500 stipend a month, per veteran, it is a big commitment.
“You don’t just clock out at 5 o’clock. It’s around the clock,” Pat Stryszak says.
Tolmaire would like it to stay that way for years to come.
“I told Mr. and Mrs. Stryszak I’ll be here for the next 15 years and after that, they can kick me out,” he says.
Only five families have taken in vets so far.
If you’d like to provide a foster home or need to place a vet in foster care, click here to learn more about the program.