Seniors have it pretty rough. Generally speaking, they are largely ignored by society—those unlucky enough to be without family have it worst of all.
Not only is the loneliness and isolation difficult to bear, but as they get older, their health also begins to deteriorate. For those without anyone to watch over them, simply surviving can be a near impossible task.
Thankfully, for one Korean War veteran, he managed to make an unlikely friend in a time of great need. When he called to complain about some suspicious activity around his home, the officer that showed up to protect him took his mandate to “protect and serve” further than the lonely veteran could have possibly imagined.
Sergeant Jon Sterling thought he was on a routine call.
Four years ago, Sergeant Jon Sterling of the Erlinger Police Department in Kentucky was out responding to what he thought was a routine call. An elderly man had described some weird goings-on around his home and requested that the police check it out.
When Sterling arrived, however, he could not find anything suspicious. So, he met with the elderly gentleman, who goes by the name of Norm. Norm was a Korean War veteran who was living by himself in somewhat poor conditions.
Despite the disparity in age, there was an instant and spontaneous connection between the two men.
Sergeant Sterling and the Korean War veteran quickly developed a close friendship.
“He’s a little bit eccentric, and he’s got a way about him that I really liked because I’m a little eccentric, myself, I guess,” Sterling told Inside Edition. “So, that’s kinda one of the ways we bonded.”
The two quickly struck up a friendship, and after Sterling’s shifts were over he would often check on Norm to see how he was doing, bring him food, or just spend time with the man.
Their relationship continued without incident for some time, until something happened that made Sterling worry.
When Norm disappeared one day, their friendship would change forever.
One day, Sterling could not find Norm, and as time went on, Sterling began to think the worst might have happened.
Then suddenly Norm returned in a disheveled state.
“His hair was real long, his beard was down,” Sterling said according to Inside Edition. “It really looked like he wasn’t taking care of himself.”
Sergeant Sterling knew he was the only one who could help Norm.
Sterling found out Norm was diagnosed with early-onset dementia. However, the man was alone and poor, with few resources to keep him safe.
“In his words, ‘Lately it seems like I’m the only guy who could get lost in a phone booth,’” Sterling said according to Inside Edition.
And Norm needed expensive medical treatments to maintain his health. It seemed that he would be doomed to live out a short and difficult life with a degenerative neurological disease.
There was hope, however, and it came from Sergeant Sterling. Aware of his friend’s great need, the kind police officer applied for legal guardianship over Norm and also worked on getting the elderly man his veteran’s benefits. Further, he set up a GoFundMe page, Help Norm, that he used to raise money to find and place Norm in a facility best able to take care of him.
The funding goals were met, and Norm was able to get the help he needed.
Shortly thereafter, Sterling placed Norm in a facility that was perfect for him.
And Norm could not have been happier. In fact, in classic grandpa fashion, he was even flirting with some of the women at the home the moment he arrived.
Norm and Sterling’s story of friendship is pretty touching, and many people were happy and amazed to witness how Sterling was able to impact Norm’s life in such a deep and meaningful way.