Community helps World War II veteran living without water at home

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NILES, Mich. (WNDU) - It started with a Facebook Post from Old School Tile Company.

It was a video of 94-year-old Elmer Bella grouting his own tile in front of his Niles home.

"The video that he took was of him doing a type of grouting that hasn't been done in probably 40 years," said Thomas Miles, owner of Old School Tile Company, LLC.

Bella, a World War II veteran, had been a tile installer for 60 years.
While helping him tile this day, an employee found out that Bella had been living without water for a month.

His well had dried up, so Bella and his family reached out to Berrien County Veterans Service. Hoping to get more attention from the VA, Miles also took to social media.

"I never expected this thing to go viral," Miles admitted.

"I woke up one morning and the pump was running, and I couldn't understand why the pump's running because I'm not drawing any water," Bella said.

Now, Maurer Well Service told 16 News Now it is set to drill a new well. The upcoming project comes thanks, in part, to funding from the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund. A company service manager said they are waiting for final approval.

"He's worked hard," said Shelley Milewski, Bella's granddaughter. "He's always given to everybody. For the community to want to help him, it's just wonderful."

Meanwhile, many others are looking out for Bella. The Real Life Church of Niles plans to donate bottled water.

"By being the light of the world you find out what people need and you show up," Rev. Jared Eckerley said.