Veteran, leg amputee launches furniture donation program
ZEPHYRHILLS — As Floridians continue to battle inflation and the housing crisis, Vietnam War veteran Ken Fabiani is doing his part to ensure veterans leaving rehab get back on their feet.
What do you want to know
- Ken Fabiani and volunteers with the Zephyrhills Elks Lodge collect gently used furniture to donate to veterans
- After recovering from a leg amputation, the 75-year-old says he was bored and wanted to get active and started this project
- Donors are encouraged to call Moose Pavilion if they have furniture they would like to be picked up
Fabiani and volunteers with the Zephyrhills Elks Lodge collect gently used furniture to donate to veterans who cannot afford to furnish their apartments.
“Moving around, I take 5,000 to 10,000 steps a day,” Fabiani said.
Many of these steps for the Navy veteran are to and from a 10×20 Store It Self Storage value locker at Wesley Chapel.
- Ken Fabiani and volunteers with the Zephyrhills Elks Lodge collect gently used furniture to donate to veterans.
- After recovering from a leg amputation, the 75-year-old says he was bored and wanted to get active and started this project.
- Donors are encouraged to call Moose Pavilion if they have furniture, they would like to be picked up.
After recovering from a leg amputation, the 75-year-old says he was bored.
“You need to stay fit and young. Sitting still doesn’t help,” he chuckled as he opened the door to the storage unit.
The unit is filled with sofas, desks, dressers and more that are ready for a new home.
“I was asked, ‘How much do we sell them?'” Fabiani said. “We don’t sell them for anything. Everything is free ! Vets are sometimes afraid of asking too much and I tell them for your service and everything is the least we can do for you.”
Ken says many of the veterans he meets are struggling because of the housing crisis.
“These landlords are going crazy raising the rent,” he said. “Veterans have a fixed income.”
Veterans find out about his services mainly by word of mouth.
“My phone worked all morning,” he said as he scheduled another pick-up. “As they still say on the road.”
The back of his truck is clear and ready to load more furniture.
Between calls, he makes pit stops at home.
There he has many memories of his time in Vietnam, including this August 1967 issue of Life Magazine.
“Here,” he said, pointing to his picture on the cover.
He was pictured with a garden hose in hand and fighting a fire on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal.
“This [water hose] prevented the fire from reaching the bomb yard,” he said. If it had reached the bomb yard, it would have exploded. Many more lives would have been taken.
Ken recalls that about 500 men were on the shp, including then-Lieutenant Commander and later Senator John McCain.
134 sailors died and 161 others were injured.
Ken says it was his captain who made him realize the impact he had that day.
“He walks up to me, shakes my hand and says ‘Thank you son, you are a national hero’. I had no idea what he was talking about until he showed me the cover of
review of life.”
Decades later, Kens says the recognition for his service never gets old.
“As a veteran, if I go out to dinner and a younger generation comes up to me and shakes my hand and says, ‘Thank you for my service,’ it brings tears to my eyes,” he said. he declared in tears. “It’s a good feeling.”
Through the furniture project, he hopes others who fought for their country will feel the same honor.
He says he has already helped more than 180 veterans.
Zephyrhills Elks Lodge received a Spotlight grant worth $2,000.
The state also matched the grant which is used to purchase additional appliances for local veterans.
Donations of furniture and storage units are needed to maintain the program.
Donors are encouraged to contact the Moose Pavilion if they have furniture, they would like to be picked up.