This comes to us from French MacLean, a retired Army Colonel whose father served alongside this man.  To make a long story short, Jay Lavin (shortened from Lavinsky after the war), a decorated World War II veteran and perhaps the last remaining survivor of the Battle of the Bulge needs help.   He has returned home for hospice care for his final weeks of life.  He’s out of money but requires 24 hour a day care.  And the VA stopped paying for his hospital stay.  

Now that’s a tragedy of its own, but right here and right now, he needs some help.  And if the Col., a retired professor from the US War College, says he needs help, let’s see if we can’t help.

Here’s the Go Fund Me link.

Here’s what he wrote:

OK, folks.  This is a big ask, but I need to do it.  As you know, I am finishing what will be my last book, tentatively titled, Dying Hard, about Dad’s infantry company in WWII, Company B, 39th Infantry Regiment.  In the last 11 months of the war, they lost 87 KIA and several hundred WIA.  It is done except for formatting.
One of the survivors, Jay Lavinsky, is still alive!  Pretty sure he is the last one.  I had talked with him in 2019, but he dropped off the radar.  To make a long story short he was in a hospital for several months after a nasty fall, and is now back to his small home in Delray Beach, FL.  I am going down with Olga end of next week to check on him.  He is getting 24/7 care and my guess is that he is running out of money.  Plan to stop by the VA (He was discharged after WWII as 100% disabled) because they stopped paying for his hospital stay last week which is why he is now at home.  May have to go see their Inspector General.
Below are some parts from the book that describe Jay.  Bottom line is they were in the same squad (12-soldier group on a good day) and after dad was wounded and captured, Jay wrote my grandmother saying dad would be alright.  
His wife, 20+ years younger, they have been married twice, has set up a Go Fund Me page.  Go to the website and search for Jay Lavin.  I wrote the stuff in there about WWII.  I contacted her several weeks ago.  She has not asked me for help, but when I saw what she was planning to write I gave her the history part to put in.  I am told that 24/7 care down there is $12k a month.  I don’t have time or geography to go look for the cheapest deal.  I don’t know what her bank balance is, and if she doesn’t really need this money that’s on her.  I just want the guy to live out his remaining days in some dignity.  I think the guys in Company B would want us to do that.
So, if you want to chip in a few bucks, great and I thank you: any amount.  If you’d rather avoid GFM but want to chip in, understand completely.  Just send me a check snail mail and I’ll get those to them.  If I get your check by next Tuesday, I’ll hand carry it down there.  If taxes, inflation, kids, grandkids and significant others are eating you alive, I understand completely.  I’m BCCing all of you so no one gets pressured by another low life like me!  I’m writing a check.  In a few days I’m going to delete this email, so I won’t even remember that I sent you this!!  Some of you we chat almost daily; others I haven’t written in years!  The only folks I did not write on this are my various parole officers, as they don’t need to know where I am!!!
Feel free to call or text me at 703-937-7136, so I can confirm this isn’t some scam coming out of Rawalpindi.
Jay will be 100 in August 2024.  Jay has no kids, or I’d read them the riot act.  Here’s some info from various parts in the book on him:
Jay Harvey Lavinsky is a real scrapper, nonconformist, fighter.  Born August 21, 1924, in Philadelphia, he quits high school; at his induction on March 20, 1943, he stands 5’9″ tall and weighs 158 pounds; he lives on Hoffman Avenue – a row house near Cobbs Creek Park.  The Philly kid has brown hair and eyes, and a ruddy complexion.  His father Irving, a second-generation Russian immigrant and antique dealer, completed junior year of high school and is a Great War veteran.  His mother Pauline, a Romanian Jewish immigrant, speaks Yiddish, immigrated in 1906 at age nine, and has completed eighth grade.  Jay has an older sister Claire and a younger sister Elaine.  Pauline is terrified that the Germans will capture her Jewish son. 
A family friend in Philly is like an uncle to Jay – Barney Lebrowitz, who boxes under the name of “Battling Levinsky,” former light heavyweight champion of the world.  Jay learns as much of the “sweet science” as he can from “Uncle Barney” and departs for England on April 5, 1944.  He starts out as a tank driver, but numerous fights with fellow soldiers help lead to a transfer.  Then, it’s a paratrooper unit but fighting and an injured back get him transferred out of that outfit as well.  He might have jumped into Normandy, but nobody wants to ask him.  Being Jewish, he has a special hatred for the Germans, puts notches in his M1 rifle and doesn’t complain when he becomes a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) gunner.
Before the dawn’s early light on February 28, 1945, the Battalion advances against small arms fire, mines and self-propelled gunfire at the western edge of Berg, two miles southeast of Nideggen.  Of a former population of 1,000 inhabitants in Berg, just 200 remain; 80% of the houses are damaged.  In support is 1st Platoon, Company C, 746th Tank Battalion.  Jay Lavinsky and Harry Nodell, who Jay calls “Brooklyn,” are involved in street-clearing operations.  In the dark night, Jay cautiously leads part of the squad, supported by a bazooka team, down the left side of a street, when he hears German drifting from a basement window and tosses a hand grenade through it.  On the right side of the street, Nodell spots a German half-track and approaches it, despite a cry of alarm from Lavinsky.  The vehicle’s machine gun drops Brooklyn with a lethal burst.  As other soldiers engage the enemy, Jay runs to his fallen comrade and holds him in his arms, screaming: “Listen you son of a bitch; you better not die on me!”  Harry looks Jay in the face, winks, smiles, and dies in his arms.  Jay will go several days before a change of clothes is available to swap for his blood-soaked uniform – drenched with the blood of his closest friend in the world.
Meanwhile, a fellow soldier checks out the basement room and reports to Lavinsky that his grenade killed five Germans – a father, mother and their three children, forever scarring the tough Philly kid. 
On March 4, 1945, Jay Lavinsky’s luck runs out west of Derkum, as machine gun rounds strike him in the stomach, groin, pelvis, both legs and a foot.  A medic considers giving Jay enough morphine to put him out of his misery, as he obviously is dying, but Jay is evacuated to hospitals in the Netherlands, England and finally to the US.  It is a true “Statue of Liberty” wound. 
On April 26, Jay Lavinsky writes from Hospital Plant #4178 in southwest England, where he is recuperating from his own wounds:
“Dear Mrs. MacLean, I don’t know quite how to start this letter as we have never met – but I am a good friend of your son.  The reason I am writing this letter is to find out whether you have gotten any recent news about the whereabouts of Mac.  You see I’m in the hospital now and have been corresponding with the fellows back in the company and they asked me to write with hopes of hearing that he has been liberated in this last drive.  As you must know your son was very happy-go-lucky and most of the fellows used to say Mac didn’t realize there was a war on.  When the chips were down, he was always at his best – and really was a swell soldier.  Our Lieutenant was hit on one attack and although his rifle was not working your son went up to cover him until an aid man could be brought up. 
But the Jerries snuck up and took him prisoner.  But Mrs. MacLean, you do have a son to praise and be proud of.  When we were on guard, he used to talk about you all and also his girl Julie and he was really proud too.  Well, this is about all, and I do hope you get some good news about Mac soon.  If you happen to have a few spare moments I would sure appreciate it if you would drop me a line and let me know if you have gotten news of him, Best of Luck, Sincerely, Jay Lavinsky”
Returning to Philly, Jay graduated from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, in 1950.  His father changed the family name to Lavin.  Memories of the war haunted him and he briefly considered suicide – later joking that he changed his mind when he saw that the gas oven into which he was about to put his head, was actually an electric one.  In his personal life, he was best friends with Timmy S. Woods, so much so that they got married – twice!  And while his memories remained, so did his compassion and he helped disabled veterans for decades. Jay is still alive.
Thanks a lot for reading this lengthy note.


From Go Fund Me

I am Timmy Woods Lavin and have been in Jay’s life approximately for 60 Years.
Jay is a kind loving talented individual.
Right now he needs help! After helping so many other people either by delivering hot meals or standing out in front of the Golden Coral on Hot or Rainy days asking people to help the wounded soldiers that are Disabled American Veterans. He has known that pain every day since being a young man who has been shot up. That never stopped him from helping others or for him to succeed thru the pain.
Now he really needs help and I love him and can only do so much with my limitations. I will give and do whatever is necessary to make his last journey respectful and with peace. I am asking you to help a good soul.
Jay Lavin (formerly Lavinsky) needs our help. At Age 98, he appears to be the last survivor of the US Army’s Company B, 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division in World War II. Jay fought in the Hürtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge. He received two Bronze Stars, one for Valor on December 22, 1944, when the 39th Infantry Regiment repelled the German 3rd Panzer Grenadier Division.
On February 28, 1945, while clearing the German village of Derkum at night, his squad in 3rd. Platoon was attacked by a German half-track; his foxhole buddy was mortally wounded and died in Jay’s arms. On March 4, 1945, a German machine gun hit Jay with six bullets putting him in hospitals for the next six months. He was discharged from the Army with 100% disability.
Jay is in Hospice Care at home. {When we brought him home he smiled}.
The funds will be used for 24 hour care. Jay is 100% disabled.
Jay lives alone and was recently discharged from a Florida hospital after suffering a fall. He is now at home but needs 24/7 care which will continue for whatever time he may have left; care he cannot afford for long.

Please send a donation his way if you are able.  Trust me, your karma will surge forward if you do.  And French will be grateful too.

Looks like I was donor #1 with $100.

3 thoughts on “Last hero of WWII Battle of the Bulge NEEDS HELP”
  1. Contact local service organizations, VFW, American Legion, etc. Many raise funds to help any/all Veterans, generally in their Charter’s.

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