More than just a truck

Post Falls veteran calls donation a 'godsend'

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D. Kelly Bausch, a Vietnam War veteran, of Post Falls, recently received a 1988 Ford F150 pick up from ElderHelp of North Idaho.

COEUR d'ALENE - All of his assets were gone.

"All of them. I have nothing left to sell or pawn," wrote D. Kelly Bausch.

Which included pawning his 1996 Ford Van for $500 to try and keep up on bills and buy food.

Problem is, the Vietnam War veteran was running out of ways to get his wife to her dialysis treatments three times a week.

"Getting her there and picking her up is like a life necessary," Bausch said.

Enter ElderHelp of North Idaho.

The nonprofit recently received a 1998 Ford F150 with a canopy and tool box from a veteran, with instructions to give it to another veteran who could use it.

Bausch was that veteran.

"It's perfect for Kelly," said John Corcoran, ElderHelp's spokesman. "He needs this."

The 66-year-old Bausch and his 71-year-old wife, Allo, live in a trailer in Post Falls. Kelly is a cancer survivor and Allo suffers from numerous ailments, including a heart attack and aneurysms.

"She's a beautiful lady," Bausch said of his wife. "We've been married 33 years."

Kelly Bausch said they survived on Social Security and had just enough to get by until the IRS began taking $300 a month last year to settle a past tax problem.

"The letter was there one day and the money was gone," he said.

To meet financial obligations, Bausch gave up his van for a title loan, but couldn't come up with the money to get it back. That left them with no reliable way to get around.

A social worker recommended they turn to ElderHelp.

Bausch, who served on the U.S. Air Force base in Vietnam in 1964-65, called Corcoran, also a Vietnam War vet.

"He said, 'I think we can help you out,'" Bausch said.

He took possession of the truck on Monday.

"This was truly a godsend," he said. "It's a lifesaver to me and I am truly, truly, truly grateful."

Corcoran said there normally would have been a more extensive process - sending out a flier, reviewing applications - to find the right person to receive the truck. But Bausch's circumstances made it clear to ElderHelp and its board he should have it.

"You're the right guy for the truck," Corcoran told him. "We're delighted were able to give it to you."

Bausch was in a hurry to get home Monday morning. His wife hadn't seen the truck yet.

"She's probably wondering where I am," he said with a laugh. "She's in for a surprise."

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