Photo of a man wearing a yellow shirt and a black hat that says "World War II Veteran." He is holding a photo of a woman wearing a blue shirt. The background is his home, with other photos and decorative pieces.

Meet Pete!

Pete is a charismatic 97-year-old WW2 Veteran working with Pathways Vermont. Pete loves to make people laugh and could talk for hours telling detailed stories of his life, including selling antiques to Betty Davis and bringing fellow Veterans on race car rides on a track down in Virginia. Before working with Pathways in 2021, Pete spent four years living in a camper.

Winters were the most brutal time of year; Pete had to shut off the water to his camper to avoid freezing the water tables below the camper. As he tells the story, he does so with a bright spirit, not letting his past define his present self.

Pete is one of those rare people you find who will help anyone around him, even at his own expense. “I trust people and that is my problem.” Pathways has helped change that. “You folks do a fantastic job. This lady here (his Service Coordinator, Kim) has taken her own time and helped me and I really appreciate it. It’s nice to have people who care about you.”

One story in particular truly captures who Pete is. Pete and his wife would throw parties in their first home together. Attendees almost always included Pete’s musician friends: A pianist, accordion player, and guitarist. Pete had an old pair of drums laying around that he didn’t know how to play, but he loved to mess around with them.

Pete’s friend had a musical trio and called Pete up one night to play the drums when he had someone call out. Pete emphasized he didn’t know how to play, but his friend insisted. Not one to miss out on helping a friend, Pete showed up. He was off beat the whole time, and had a hard night, feeling defeated after the set. The following week, he got a call from his friend again. “Pete I need your help again, my friend still can’t make it.” Pete went the second week, and they ended up playing together for over 20 years. The group played mainly jazz and blues. The band would start the night as a trio, and by the end of the set a full band had joined the performance. Pete approached life then and now very similarly. Much like the blues, Pete always leaves room for improvisation, collaboration, and inspiring moments to make life just a little bit more special. With the help of Pathways Vermont, Pete was able to find an apartment that is warm and nice. He finally feels at home.

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