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Friends rally to fix WWII veteran's roof damaged by hurricane

Posted at 6:55 PM, Jun 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-06 18:55:19-04

Ralph Hauser has seen a lot in his 93 years. The World War II veteran has lived in the same house on Central Avenue in Fort Myers ever since it was built in the 1950s.

"I've been around for a long, long time," Hauser said.

But his roof was severely damaged by Hurricane Irma, and it's been covered with blue tarps since the storm struck Florida in September. Hauser's son Clayton said his father got a notice from the City of Fort Myers code enforcement office in late May.

"They came and gave us a notice that they could condemn the house if we don't fix it," Clayton said. "It says we've got to replace the roof within sixty days."

But Ralph Hauser's friend Tom D'Angelo is trying to make sure it doesn't come to that.

"When a true American treasure is in trouble, you do everything you can," D'Angelo said.

After learning about Hauser's roof situation last weekend, D'Angelo started a page on Facebook Fundraisers called "A Roof For Ralph!" It raised over $3,000 in just four days.

"Every time we get a donation, I get teary-eyed," D'Angelo said. "It's like, 'yes, we might be able to do this.'"

Clayton said they're waiting for a roofing company to give them an estimate on repairs. 

Fox 4 reached out to the code enforcement office for the City of Fort Myers to check on the likelihood of Hauser's home being condemned. A message had not been returned by Wednesday evening.