One Marine generation helps another: Vietnam-era veteran installs water heater for vet from WWII

Lucy McClain’s weathered hands tell the story.

The wrinkles and scars serve as a reminder of when the 86-year-old worked as a Marine mechanic on Corsair airplane engines during World War II.

But the hands that once fine-tuned some of the military’s finest fighter planes have slowed down. They can’t twist and turn tools very well anymore.

They clamp onto a walker pretty well.

They can still open the stubborn storm door.

But when the water heater broke down a few weeks ago, it was cold sponge showers and buckets of freezing water to rinse off. Those hands were no match for that heater.

That’s when the Clark County Senior Citizen Advocate Program contacted Lou Salazar, a plumber with Local 525, to get McClain a new heater and some hot water.

Salazar’s union volunteers members through the Community Action Program to provide low-income seniors with free plumbing and air conditioning work on the weekends.

When Salazar, who served in Vietnam with the 1st Marine Recon Battalion, found out McClain was a fellow Marine, he had to help.

“We hit it off,” he said. “Somebody needed to hear this story because you’re not going to find many World War II veterans. When you find a lady who was in the Marine Corps, that makes it extra special.” Read more here