“First of all, I’m not a hero. The heroes are the ones who didn’t come back.” This is how Stew Lahey introduces himself. But as an enlisted Marine in World War II, he saw and experienced the many effects of war. After serving our country honorably, he now lives in Bridgeport, CT as a loving father and husband who cares for family most of all.
John Stewart “Stew” Lahey enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1944. He was just 18 years old. During WWII, he was transported around the Pacific to Guam, China, and Japan. He was in Iwo Jima during the Battle and Sasebo a year after the atomic bomb hit the Nagasaki region. His duties included light duty truck driving, building and taking down barracks, and active combat.
After Mr. Lahey was honorably discharged in 1946, he worked in advertising for companies such as the New York Times and Travel & Leisure. He is now 97 years old. Despite a long life well-lived, he is still recovering from PTSD-induced anxiety and depression from his time in service. He found a safety net in the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, where our staff attorney and staff have helped him access the VA benefits he earned in service so he can live his life with dignity and comfort.
Having someone to call for help after a lifetime of serving others is a major comfort for him. “[CVLC] has been super to me–above and beyond. I’m so thankful for the fact that you guys are there,” he says. Whether it’s advice or just a hug, he feels comfortable receiving support from CVLC staff. Between the family he has at home and the family he found in CVLC, he says it brings a smile to his face when he thinks, “Gee how blessed I’ve been.”
We were honored to welcome Mr. Stew Lahey to the 14th-Annual Saluting Service event, which took place on November 9, 2023 at the New Haven Lawn Club and welcomed more than 190 people. Learn more about Saluting Service and see some pictures from the event at: www.ctveteranslegal.org/SalutingService