- BECOME A MEMBER
- GENERAL INFO
- Photo Gallery
- Tribute Page
A Brother's Love Motivates Bob Goddard
By Linda Fudala-Tucker
Bob Goddard was only six years old when the United States got drawn into World War II. His brothers, 13 and 15 years older, both enlisted, one before and one shortly after Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.
“They were my heroes and I looked up to them,” said Goddard, now 77.
One brother returned from the war, the other did not.
That brother, George, Goddard described as “quite an athlete and scholar,” enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor. He aspired to be a fighter pilot, “but was considered too tall because he was over six feet tall. So he became a co-pilot for B-24 bombers.”
George was on his 74th mission in the Pacific when his plane disappeared in July 1943, recalled Goddard.
“It was bad enough that his plane went down, but not having a body to bury, was most difficult and our wonderful parents lived in limbo for many years not knowing what happened.”
Goddard said there was some speculation that George’s plane went down near New Guinea, but no trace was ever found. “There were 58,000 MIAs in the Pacific, which made it very difficult for the families.” His other brother, Bill enlisted before Pearl Harbor in the Army Air Corps as well. He rose to the rank of captain and became an adjutant to a general. He was awarded several commendations before leaving the service, and went on to become a CPA. Bill has since passed in 2006 at age 86.
The war years back home
The spirit and unity of folks in his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, were the hallmarks of life in the states, then, said Goddard.
“Everyone got involved. There was such cooperation and devotion to the fighting men. I can remember at 8, 9, and 10 years old, collecting metal scraps with other boys at that age. We all did what we could for the war effort.”
That same spirit was what brought Goddard to the Veteran’s Outreach Ohio office in June, 2006 about two months after the death of his brother. “A friend I knew had made some contributions to the organization and told me I should look into doing something with them.” It wasn’t long before VO president, John Ely’s enthusiasm and the organization’s mission had him hooked on helping. John had asked him if he would like to help with expanding what they do to raise funds through corporate and foundation grants.
And, just like the war years, Goddard found ways to do what he could, this time to help veterans of all wars. By then Goddard had been retired from a successful business background from working for a major chemical company to having businesses of his own. He also was a widow after 44 years of marriage to Nancy, the mother of his three children, including twins, David and Robert and daughter, Diana, all successful in their own right. “Nancy was the best mother in the world. She did the heavy lifting raising that brood. I’m pleased with all three of my children and my grandchildren as well.”
“Life has been good to me, and it’s great to have somewhere that I can give back for a worthwhile cause,” said Goddard, who has worked the donation tables as well as help open doors for corporate giving and finding grants to benefit the VO’s work of helping vets.
“It’s not easy to depend on the generosity of the general public, especially in these very tough economic times of the last two years,” said Goddard. From a business point of view, he has only praise for the VO and the staff.
“The VO operates frugally with very low administration costs. Teri (Ely) is an amazing person with incredible multi-tasking abilities and she works with such accuracy,” said Goddard. “Bob Julian , he’s the guy short on words and long on action. Bob helps keep John Ely down to earth and is wise in how funds are spent.
Need determines help
Help is determined by need, and sometimes the need can be someone to lend some advice.
“I visited an 86-year old decorated China-Burma-India WWII veteran who had fallen on hard times because of ill health of both he and his wife. He lived in a nice condo for which he was able to pay the mortgage but was behind on the insurance. He was about a week away from losing it.
“We put together a spreadsheet factoring in his pension and Social Security which after expenses left him with $4 a month. We helped him make a payment on the insurance, but realized he was in deep financial trouble. We didn’t have the funds to ‘adopt’ him. Then I got the idea to speak to a banking friend of mine who helped get him a reverse mortgage. So instead of $4 a month, he was now seeing about $900 and no mortgage payment. He told me later that he was so grateful and that I had given him his life back. That was one of my proudest moments working for the VO.”
Another vet who had ‘gotten his life back,’ approached Goddard while he was working a table. “I saw this tall, strong looking guy in sunglasses approach and I noticed there were tears running down his face under the glasses. He took off his glasses and you could see he had been crying. He looked at me, and said, ‘eight months ago I was drinking and not doing the things I should have been doing for my family and to keep a job.
got me to a program that helped me. I quit drinking and my life’s been healed. Now I can help.’”
The best part of the VO, says Bob, is that it doesn’t matter if a vet is 26 or 86, he or she will get the same kind of assistance.
This text will be replaced by the flash music player.