Speed Reads

thank you for your service

Brooklyn neighborhood surprises World War II veteran with tokens of appreciation

Jack Le Vine's neighbors in South Slope, Brooklyn, made this Veterans Day one that none of them will ever forget.

Le Vine is a 96-year-old World War II veteran who has lived on the same block his entire life. His neighbor Elizabeth Dowling told The New York Times that "when our vets return home, they're often forgotten and ignored," and she wanted to celebrate Le Vine. She posted about Le Vine on a community bulletin board, and asked others to consider leaving him "a little token of gratitude."

Their neighbors heeded the call, and on Wednesday, the deliveries began. People Le Vine had never met before were dropping off cards, letters, potted plants, and other gifts. One envelope was addressed to "Jack the Hero," and another had a drawing of a soldier. Le Vine, a retired captain with the New York City Fire Department, met the neighbors as he took out the trash and was out in his yard.

The visitors kept coming on Thursday, arriving with homemade banana bread and more cards and flowers. Le Vine told the Times he typically does "nothing" on Veterans Day, and doesn't think anyone from his unit is still living — the National World War II Museum says almost 99 percent of those who served in the war are dead, and there are fewer than 5,000 veterans in New York City. Seeing how many people took the time to write messages, buy presents, and make treats for him touched Le Vine. "These people must love me on this block!" he said.