The elderly are one of the most fragile categories of people and that is the reason why they are considered an easy target by muggers and criminals.
Peter Hoban, a 72-year-old Vietnam veteran, was on his way to the Cleveland VA medical center when he spotted a group of teenagers looking at him. He smelled trouble but decided to continue walking.
“I made a mental note to myself when I get down there, I’ll tell them (center staff) they have people hanging out in the garage that are probably up to no good,” Hoban told News5 Cleveland.
However, as he headed towards the medical center, one of the teens approached him and asked him for some money. When Hoban answered that he didn’t have any, the boy started acting violently. Hoban then pushed him and tried to move, but another boy approached and hit him in the eye.
“They were both together so I charged them, tackled them down and started yelling for police and help,” Hoban explained after the incident.
Some people, who happened to be veterans themselves, heard his cries for help and rushed to his rescue. They managed to hold one of the boys until police arrived, while the other one grabbed Hoban’s car keys and fled the scene with the veteran’s vehicle.
“He was twisting his arm, I was holding his legs, a third gentleman came up and about that time I saw my car drive by down the ramp,” Hoban said and added that one of the people who helped him told him, “You mess with a veteran, we stick together,” as reported by News5 Cleveland.
Hoban’s daughter was the first one to share her father’s ordeal on Facebook. “A Cobra Pilot Vietnam veteran is someone you do NOT MESS WITH. Dad is ok. They checked him out and did scans at the VA. He is fine on the inside. Just bumps, bruises and scrapes on the outside,” she wrote, alongside pictures of her injured father. “This gets me soooo MAD and breaks my heart at the same time. Why…why pick on somebody that could be your Grandpa?! Why?! I am grateful my Daddy is safe and ok over all.”
Hoban is now recovering and is pleading the community to help him find the veterans who helped him. “I want to buy them a drink, coffee, dinner or whatever,” he said.
Authorities reported that Hoban’s car was found some two blocks away from the scene and that one of the suspects had been arrested.
“Our VA Police conduct regular patrols throughout our property, but there is still an element of risk even in the safest of areas. This was an isolated incident, and our risk assessment does not call for additional security at this time,” they said.
“We continue to encourage Veterans, employees and visitors to report suspicious activity immediately. If faced with a similar situation, experts recommend maintaining your calm, giving the offenders the property, and immediately notifying authorities. We are thankful there were no serious injuries in this instance and that the Veteran’s car will be returned to him.”
We are so very sorry this Vietnam veteran was forced to endure such an unpleasant ordeal, and we honestly hope the teens would get the punishment they deserve for hitting an elderly man who once served our country.
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