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Posted on: February 24, 2021

Storm-Relieved Veteran, 96, Says He 'May Not Have Made Another Day'

From left, Council Member Robert John Smith, Mayor Scott LeMay, Lee Gardner and Evon Bland.

Lee Gardner, a 96-year-old veteran, said he hadn’t been in such a tight spot since Cambodia. The winter storm had already left him without power for days. Then, a water line broke. Neighbors were on the scene, but they were having problems helping him out.

“I don’t think I would have made another day,” said Gardner, who was also dealing with a recent hip replacement and his very frightened dogs.

Garland Council Member Robert John Smith became aware of Gardner’s plight and reached out to City staff -- “This is a complicated one.”

Within a couple of hours, Gardner had a visit from Housing and Community Services, a case file, a lantern and a work order to Schrade Plumbing.

There was also an order for firewood. However, Garland Power & Light had been diligently targeting a problem specific to Gardner’s block for much of the day. Power was restored before the firewood arrived.

The next morning, Construction and Rehabilitation Supervisor Jason Wilhite was at the home to confirm the water line was repaired. Meanwhile, Housing and Community Services Administrator Mona Woodard connected the veteran to resources to help pay for the work. Links to winter storm recovery resources can also be found at GarlandTx.gov.

“The heroes in this story are the neighbors that asked us for help, the volunteers that pitched in, the City’s management for finding the resources to help, and the City employees for going above and beyond to make sure that we took care of our own,” Council Member Smith said. “That’s the embodiment of who we are as a city. That’s the spirit of Garland.”

Gardner, who lives with his daughter Evon Bland, has made Garland his home since retiring from the military in 1974.

Pictured, from left, Council Member Robert John Smith, Mayor Scott LeMay, Lee Gardner and Evon Bland.

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