MATTHEWS – After moving to the area a decade ago, Nick DeVenuto read in a newspaper about a visually impaired and blinded veterans group needing volunteers to provide transportation for members.
DeVenuto jumped behind the wheel of his car, and he has never looked back when it comes to helping veterans.
Along the way, DeVenuto drove a shuttle cart at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Charlotte, and he started collecting signatures from WWII veterans. As time passed, the number of WWII veterans dwindled fast.
DeVenuto organized a luncheon March 20 at the Americana Restaurant to not only honor the few remaining World War II veterans left but also any veteran that served the country.
About a dozen veterans attended the event. Matthews Mayor Paul Bailey, Mint Hill Mayor Ted Biggers and Indian Trail Mayor Michael Alvarez were among those thanking veterans for the service.
The Matthews Rotary Club paid for the luncheon.
“I have been helping veterans since I moved here from New York because I needed a calling,” DeVenuto said. “My calling is to help veterans. I started a little ministry taking veterans to and from their appointments and it grew into bigger things.”
Much bigger things, too.
DeVenuto has worked on veterans’ farm equipment, done carpentry work and helped them navigate the VA system, among other activities. DeVenuto enjoys hearing veterans talk about their service and sacrifice to the country, and he wants as many people as possible to hear those stories, too.
“They have such amazing stories,” DeVenuto said. “My love for World War II veterans, and all veterans, is beyond my scope. I’m so honored and privileged to be able to help these veterans, and they do need help. The World War II guys, they need people to hear their stories.’’
C.L. Brasfield, 95, of Charlotte, was one of the WWII veterans at the luncheon. Brasfield, who served on the island of Guadalcanal during the war, said DeVenuto has been a tremendous help to him and all veterans.
“Nick has helped me get treatment that I didn’t know that I deserved,” Brasfield said. “He helps me in so many ways, I just can’t remember all the ways he has helped me. I’m glad he found out about mex.”