Thursday, October 8, 2009

Volunteer leaves $1.5 million to Ill. VA hospital

Volunteer leaves $1.5 million to Ill. VA hospital


4:40 p.m. CDT, October 6, 2009
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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - After serving in the Korean War, John Wright apparently lived a quiet life in Danville, where he volunteered at the local Veterans Administration hospital but otherwise kept to himself.

As it turns out, Wright was also building a fortune in real estate and other investments worth $1.56 million, all of which he left to the eastern Illinois town's VA hospital when he died.

The staff and other volunteers he got to know in his 40 years volunteering at the hospital's recreation therapy section were the closest thing Wright had to family, said Douglas Shouse, a hospital spokesman.

"They were his family," Shouse said. "On holidays he would go to (meet) the recreation staff for meals."

His colleagues at the hospital did not know much more about Wright's life outside the hospital or his military record.

"John was pretty subdued and didn't really talk about his military service," Shouse said.

Wright, who was in the Army, died in March 2008 at the hospital. He was 74.

According to Vermilion County Circuit Court records, Wright's estate consisted of a mix of real estate holdings, investments such as shares of Fannie Mae and other more mundane assets such as a money market fund.

Shouse said he had no idea about Wright's fortune -- or how he built it -- until the VA was contacted about the will after his death.

The estate only recently cleared all the legal hurdles preventing it from turning the fortune over to the hospital, Shouse said.

He said the hospital decided against saying anything publicly about the money until after a service last week to honor Wright because people who knew him said he would not have liked the fuss.

The money will buy a 16-passenger van to take veterans on outings and will be used to renovate a recreation hall that will be named in his honor, according to Shouse.

Wright was buried in the Danville National Cemetery near the hospital.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Myapologies to the AP but as a 100% disabled veteran I felt that all veterans and the public should know the kind of men that have served this nation and how they keep on giving long after they leave the military. He gave of his time to be a volunteer at the local VA hospital and when he died, he left a small fortune he had accumulated over his lifetime, and the VA will now put that money to use to continue to help veterans.

If this makes me wrong for re-relling this story and linking it back to the Chicago paper where it was published then I will be wrong all the time, this man truly is an American "hero" he may not have ever been awarded a Medal of Honor or a Silver Star but he lived a life of "honor" and UI for one SALUTE him. I also give my thanks to the AP for allowing their reporter to spend his time to tell this story, of giving.

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