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92-year-old William “Bill” Barclay of Las Vegas, NV appears one episode #485 of Hometown Heroes, airing August 18-20, 2017. A native of Trenton, NJ, Barclay served aboard the destroyer escort USS Stockdale (DE-399) during World War II.
Barclay has long flown the United States flag, as well as a Navy flag, in front of his Las Vegas home. On February 15, 2017, he walked outside to find the flags had been burned by vandals. A local TV station’s coverage of the incident unleashed an overwhelming outpouring of support from friends, neighbors, and complete strangers that left Barclay amazed. Before we hear from Barclay himself, we hear from Gina Lazara of KTNV in Las Vegas, who filed the initial television report about Barclay’s ideal in February.
“When we got the story tip into the newsroom,” you’ll hear Lazara relate. “We didn’t realize how big this was going to be. We had no idea.”
Once Lazara’s report aired on KTNV, viewers started to respond. A team from nearby Nellis Air Force Base arrived the next day to present a flag. Neighbors he had never met did the same. As the story went viral, well-wishers from around the country, as well as servicemen and women overseas, did everything they could to rally around Barclay and turn a victimized veteran into a victorious one.
“I don’t know if we’ve ever seen a response this big to a story,” the reporter says. “We had hundreds of calls, Facebook messages, e-mails, so many people asking how can they help.”
Watch Lazara’s original TV piece below, and listen to Hometown Heroes for more of the reporter’s perspective on the incredible outpouring of support she witnessed.
More coverage of Bill Barclay’s ordeal-turned-adventure from ABC affiliate KTNV in Las Vegas: