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Heroes Among Us: Duane Roark

Video from WALB
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 11:00 AM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Every month, WALB and Montlick & Associates join together to say thank you to a south Georgian who has served our country selflessly.

Duane Roark is a Navy veteran who lives in Valdosta.

He served in Desert Storm during the early 1990s.

He has volunteered for the Department of Veterans Affairs for a while, but he said he wanted to do more to help his fellow veterans. So, Roark formed a nonprofit called “Vet Team Six.”

The six references all six military branches.

Roark said he, along with other veterans and volunteers, does work around the house for free for veterans who are in need. That can include things like cutting grass or minor home repairs.

Duane Roark, right, is a Navy veteran who lives in Valdosta. As part of "Vet Team Six",  he,...
Duane Roark, right, is a Navy veteran who lives in Valdosta. As part of "Vet Team Six", he, along with other veterans and volunteers, does work around the house for free for veterans who are in need. That can include things like cutting grass or minor home repairs.(Source: WALB)

One of the veterans they have helped is Harold Huppenthal, 92.

“(He) spent two years in active duty over in Korea,” April Dickerson, Huppenthal’s daughter, said.

April, her husband and her dad are living in a Valdosta home for a few months before they move to Florida.

At Huppenthal’s age, getting around isn’t very easy.

“He’s got bad knees and being 92 with some dementia, it makes it difficult for him to get in and out of the house and up and down the steps,” Dickerson said.

It’s necessary, though, for trips to doctor’s appointments or the hardware store.

He also liked to enjoy the nice weather.

“He does like to sit outside in the fresh air in the sunshine, and we just wanted him to be able to be independent,” she said.

By chance, Dickerson ran into Roark at a festival last month.

“Duane just took to my story of my dad really quickly and didn’t hesitate to say, ‘I’m going to come out, and I’m going to build a handrail for your dad,’” Dickerson said.

It was at no cost to Dickerson or her dad.

“Veterans have a tendency not to ask for help,” Roark said. “So, you basically have to go to them and say, ‘hey, we want to help you.’”

He’s building the nonprofit from the ground up.

“Just as soon as we get more equipment like lawnmowers, trailers, trucks, the equipment that we need to go out and help veterans, and once we get more volunteers, then we can go and do more,” Roark said.

If you know a military hero you want to nominate for “Heroes Among Us,” click here.

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