CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - An elderly veteran who also happens to be disabled is asking for help after his main form of transportation was stolen.
He recently saved up and bought a special motorized tricycle before it was stolen. His story caught the attention of two Corpus Christi police officers who now share a special bond with him.
While most people consider going to the grocery store a chore, 72-year-old State Strates was excited to finally be able to do that. The bike made it possible, but it was stolen right out of his garage.
Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Strates enjoys looking back at memories and telling stories of his time serving in the U.S. Army; but now his focus is on his health as severe blood clots in his legs have made his life fairly immobile.
"I constantly had to eat cereal because I can't stand and cook," Strates said.
A month ago, Strates was finally able to purchase a bicycle from Amazon and had saved up his money to buy a motor for it -- for $699 -- to go on the front wheel so he could get down the street to the grocery store; but on Monday evening, it happened.
"I came out and looked, and my bicycle was gone," Strates said.
Strates filed a police report and his story caught the attention of two police officers who also happen to be veterans.
"This one, for some reason, it just hit the heart because I thought, 'How could somebody do this to an elderly gentleman?'" Officer Savid Conner said.
Strate said he has been devastated since it was stolen. They have checked all the local pawn shops with no success, and he said though some may think it is just a bike, to him it means pride and freedom.
"I've had stuff stolen from me before, but nothing that meant as much as this did," he said.
The officers were able to find somebody to help fix his garage door, and a nearby bike shop agreed to donate a new bike to him, but he said he just cannot afford another $700 lithium battery. He is hoping by some miracle somebody finds his crimson red three-wheeler.
Of course, the likelihood of actually finding the bike may be small, but the community is rallying around Strate and has created a Gofundme account to raise money to try and buy him a new motor battery. If you would like to help, visit www.gofundme.com/strate-g-strates.
(© 2016 KIII)