Berwyn police pull together to help Vietnam veteran in need

A veteran in Berwyn made a call for help and the entire community answered.

In a little over a week's time, that veteran received a fully furnished apartment and a full-time job.

The help started with the local police department and then it grew.

Vietnam veteran James Nicoletti recently relocated to Illinois with just the clothes on his back. He now has so much more and something money can't buy.

"Mr. Nicoletti, you're from the Berwyn area, welcome home,” said Berwyn Mayor Robert J. Lovero.

He served his country in Vietnam and now his country is serving him.

"I had $100 dollars in my hand when I arrived here in Chicago,” Nicoletti said.

At the beginning of the year, Nicoletti moved back to his hometown. But the move disrupted his military benefit checks. Hopeless and hungry, he called a veterans assistance hotline.

He never expected what happened next.

"There was five policemen in my home in Berwyn, I thought I was being arrested,” Nicoletti said.

The responding Berwyn officers noticed Nicoletti was sick and sleeping in his bathtub because he had no furniture.

"They went home, they retrieved stuff from their house, furnishings, food, gift cards to try to help this gentleman, they went and picked up his prescriptions,” said Chief of Police Michael D. Cimaglia.

Officer Edward Tovar was so disturbed by what he witnessed, he started an online campaign to help.

"I wish I could thank everybody that reached out to me and that donated but unfortunately some of the people I don't even know,” Officer Tovar said.

Non-profit “Home 2 Home” is furnishing Nicoletti's apartment, a local business has given him a full-time job and people from across the country have donated.

"Why you do this for me, I'm a no one but I guess I am a someone. I guess I'm somebody,” Nicoletti said.

“If you give forward to that one person, it may change that person's life,” Officer Tovar said.

Berwyn police are also handing out what they're calling "To Go Bags" to homeless individuals they encounter this winter, containing food and toiletries. They are the community that just keeps on giving.