Generous viewers, fellow vet find truck for disabled veteran who had his stolen and set on fire

Posted at 5:24 PM, Jul 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 02:21:30-04

The disabled Army veteran from Lakeland who had his car stolen and set on fire has found a way to get to those doctors appointments after all.

Generous ABC Action News viewers got together and donated a truck after watching his story last week.

“I knew we could do something,” said James Ring, who is also an Army Airborne. “It hit home, especially because he’s a veteran.”

Last Thursday, Ring shared on Facebook the story about Joseph Vitrino, who was struggling to figure out how to get to and from doctors appointments after the theft of his only car.

His friend, Lori Long, did much more than click like.

“My dad would have done this 100 percent without blinking an eye,” Long said.

Long just so happened to have an old, black truck sitting at home. It belongs to her late father, August Bremer, an Airborne Ranger who passed away in 2007.

“He would love this because being an Airborne Ranger, being in the Army, you take care of each other. Nobody gets left behind,” she said.

Nobody. Especially not a disabled vet who met Lakeland’s worst residents earlier this month.

And now met its best.

Lori and James recently met Joseph and his wife, Christina, to deliver the good news.

The beat-up truck will soon look brand new again. Meisner Paint and Body in Lakeland agreed to give it a full make-over for free.

“He said they’re raising some money to get it done, and I said I’ll just do it. Don’t worry about it,” said Michael Meisner, owner of Meisner Paint and Body.

Vitrano was brought to tears.

“I’m totally humbled by the good people in our community,” he said.