Couple Takes In 93 Year-Old WWII Veteran Who Escaped California Wildfire

Tracy Grant and her boyfriend take in 93-year-old WWII veteran Lee Bundige who had to evacuate during the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA.

WWII Veteran Lee Bundige was alone. Now, he’s family.

Tracy Grant showed up to help evacuees of the Camp Fire in Northern California. She had no idea how that one simple act of kindness would change the course of her day and her life.

Grant spotted WWII veteran Lee Bundige as she was handing out hamburgers. That’s when she noticed the 93-year-old man was alone. Grant owns a vintage store in Oroville, California. She knows a treasure when she see one.

“When I first met him, I knew he was special,” Grant told SFGate.com, “He was the only person in this parking lot who was by himself with no one else with him. I made it my mission to keep my eye on him. When the rangers came, I went up to him and said, ‘You’re coming with me.'”

Those rangers were telling everyone they had to leave because of the worsening air quality. Mr. Bundige didn’t know then and still doesn’t know the status of his home in Paradise, the town that has basically burned to the ground.

Grant knew what she had to do. She insisted Mr. Bundige come home with her.

She brought him home, gave him a bathrobe to put on while she washed his clothes. Then, she called her boyfriend to tell him about their honored guest.

“I just want to warn you, there’s a man in your recliner wearing your robe,” she said. “And he’s the cutest little 93-year-old you’ve met.”

Tracy Grant and her boyfriend take in 93-year-old WWII veteran Lee Bundige who had to evacuate during the Camp Fire in Paradise, CA.
93 year-old WWII veteran Lee Bundige makes himself comfortable in clean clothes and the home of Tracy Grant who met him handing out food to Camp Fire evacuees. Credit: Tracy Grant.

Her boyfriend’s response?

Like Christmas came early. Turns out, Josh Fox is a World War II history buff. He became fascinated with the era from his two late grandfathers who both served during that time.

Fox says he stopped and bought Mr. Bundige some new clothes on his way home from work. They’ve been bonding over war stories ever since.

WWII veteran Lee Bundige has now become part of the family of Tracy Grant and Josh Fox.
WWII veteran Lee Bundige has now become part of the family of Tracy Grant and Josh Fox, as he sits at the head of the table for family dinner. Credit: Tracy Grant.

SFGate.com reports that Mr. Bundige has lived alone since his wife passed away. He has one son who lives in Southern California and knows his dad is okay.

Grant and Fox say there is no hurry for Mr. Bundige to go anywhere.

They tell SFGate.com, “I thought if that were my grandpa, where would I want him to be,” says Grant, whose grandfathers have both passed. “He’s so sweet. He has the bluest eyes. The sweetest smile. I see my grandfather in him. We told him this could be his forever home but that is totally up to him.”

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Couple Takes In 93 Year-Old WWII Veteran Who Escaped California Wildfire

by DarynKagan time to read: 2 min
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