Neighbors step in to help 80-year-old vet after person paid to do yard work doesn't finish job

PERRYSBURG (WTVG) - Dozens of Perrysburg residents spent part of Thursday cleaning the yard of an 80-year-old Army veteran, who had already paid someone to do it.

"I just can't do much anymore, " said Russell Brogan said. "I have to hire everything done anymore."

Brogan has stage 4 COPD and needs to wear an oxygen mask, and keeping up with his lawn is hard work.

"I do work for two minutes and have to sit for four," Brogan said.

Brogan is preparing to celebrate his 80th birthday and wanted to tidy up his yard before the party next week.

"I wanted the place cleaned up nice and the weeds picked."

Brogan says he put an ad on Facebook and paid someone $150, but the job was never finished.

"It was probably the first time in my life that anyone has ever done anything like that to me," said Brogan. "I always trusted people."

"I was probably more upset about it than he was," said Donna Brogan, Russell's wife.

That's when the couple says they took to Facebook and posted about the situation on a Perrysburg community page. They say the response they received was overwhelming, with more than 500 comments and shares.

Abigail Kruse saw the post and recruited a small army of volunteers to do some yard work at his home on Blue Jacket Road Thursday.

"I said I will do this for free and it looks like half the town is also willing to do this for free," Kruse said.

"I saw the Facebook post and I just thought how could someone do that to someone so trusting," said Kim Navarette, who brought her children along. "I hope my kids learn that when someone needs help you help them."

Many of those that showed up, didn't even know the Brogans.

"I have never seen any of them before, not a single one," said Donna Brogan. "They are complete strangers."

Some spent more than three hours out in the rain pulling weeds and trimming trees.

"We understand that this is for his 80th birthday and he wanted it to look nice," said Kruse. "It's like a Happy Birthday present from all of Perrysburg to him."

"We want them to know that Perrysburg is a community that cares about its neighbors," Navarette said.

Brogan said it wasn't just the neat and tidy yard, but the kindness of his neighbors that was the real birthday gift.

"I just want to say from the bottom of my heart that this is the most amazing thing that has happened in my life," Brogan said. "It's truly a gift."