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CLEVELAND – Wally and Janice Ohler work side-by-side in the basement of their ranch home, doing what has become second nature to them. And that is helping veterans in any way they can.

“I want to impact lives,” Wally said.  That desire was born long ago, he said, after returning from the Vietnam War.

“I don’t know what we did wrong, but serve,” he said. But Wally remembers feeling rejected, or worse, by the reaction of some people in the United States.

“I was spit at,” he said, “and we were called baby killers.”

Now, a half-century later, Wally and a loose group that he calls “angels” make it their mission to help any veteran they can in the Cleveland area – in any way they can.

Wally acknowledges that helping other veterans helps him deal with those memories from coming home after Vietnam.

Asked if it helps him heal, Wally said simply “it does.”

The help he and Janice provide certainly touches people’s lives.

Bill Krumroy is a Marine vet who battles cancer. Married, and the father of three, Bill’s family struggled when he lost his job after his diagnosis.

Enter Wally and Janice, who’ve helped provide food, and even got the family’s car fixed for free.

“I don’t actually consider it help,” Bill said of Wally, “I think he’s saving people.”

Wally was able to get Bill’s car repaired thanks to one of his “angels”: A to Z Auto Service.

Owner John Beltowski can’t give away cars or engines, but if he can, he’ll help Wally help vets, including often providing free labor.

Asked why he does it, John replied “I have a brother-in-law who’s a Vietnam vet, and another brother-in-law who’s still in the Army.”

Wally and Janice often take care packages, destined for service men and women who are currently deployed, to the local post office where Mike Hicar is the manager.

“We’re on a first name basis, Wally and Mike,” Hicar said.

He added that, when people in line see Wally with the care packages, they often volunteer to pay for the postage. And he said that’s not just limited to customers.

“We chip in ourselves,” he said.

Wally said all those who help him share a common purpose.

“To improve the quality of life of our veterans,” he said, “and to let them know, that we will never forget.”

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