Army Veteran Tony Battaglia served in the Korean War as an engineer.
He was injured in the war and now struggles with everyday tasks such as taking a bath or shower.
“I did the best I could. I’ve lost friends all over the battlefield,” Tony said. “I was lucky enough, through god’s intervention, almost makes me cry, to come back and be with my family.”
Due to his limited mobility, his wife, Rosalie Battaglia has been his primary caretaker. She said that she’s been doing everything around the house, while also supporting Tony.
Now, thanks to Baths for the Braves and an Ocala construction company, the Battaglia’s lives are getting a little easier.
Fairbanks Construction was one of ten companies that took part in the Baths for Braves project, which provides bathroom renovations for wounded Veterans.
“So many people struggle, so many veterans, so many older people just struggle with things that we take for granted on a daily basis, like taking a shower safely,” said Brian Gottlieb, Baths for the Braves founder.
Gottlieb said the idea started in Wisconsin when his home improvement company Turndraland was helping change veteran’s lives by remodeling their bathrooms. He was inspired by the impact he made locally, and wanted to try and do something bigger.
“We choose veterans as a group because typically they’re not the ones raising there hands saying help me,” Gottlieb said. “They’re the ones that have silently helped others… and the least we can do is give back to them.”
Gottlieb, wants to change the way veterans live their lives by making sure they never have to worry about injuring themselves in their bathrooms.
“Mr.Battaglia, he not only had difficulties getting in the shower, but he has slipped and fell so many times,” Fairbanks Construction spokeswoman Julia Sutton said. “I mean, one time he literally slipped out of the shower and banged his head against the wall. They still have the dent.”
Sutton said when Fairbanks heard the Battaglia’s story; she knew they were the most deserving people for the award.
“Mrs. Battaglia actually told us that was the day [the day they came to tell them they won] that their caretaker actually stopped coming,” Sutton said. “So I couldn’t wait any longer and I said you know what Mrs. Battaglia, you’re the winner of the Baths for the Braves Bath Crash.”
Baths for the Braves installed over 100,000 dollars worth of free bath projects nationwide their first year. For the Battaglia’s, Fairbanks remodeled their shower.
“My wife and I were totally taken back because it was what we’ve been dreaming of for months upon months,” Tony Battaglia said.
The Battaglia’s said the project would have cost them nearly 8,000 dollars. With their new shower, Rosalie Battaglia is finally getting a much needed peace of mind.
“He doesn’t move too quickly, so I help him along,” Rosalie said. “I help him dress, and I help him with the shower, so now I don’t have to help him with the shower.”