By Debbie Gregory.
Born in the Netherlands under Nazi rule, 84-year-old twins Clifford and Gary Koekoek came to the U.S. as they have done most all things in life: together.
The twins served their adoptive country during the Vietnam War. They eventually bought a home that had belonged to their mother. The brothers took out what they thought was a conventional loan to fix the roof on the house, but unfortunately, they fell victim to a predatory lender and lost the house in foreclosure.
The brothers were left to sleep in their car.
They spent a lot of their time just walking. Both logged many hours at the Sacramento Public Library in Orangevale, Gary poring over deed records, trying to find a way to get their house back.
In an act that Gary said makes him proud to be an American citizen, the brothers saw their story spread through local media and by word of mouth, thanks to family friend Aaron Hoemer . Then, it went national.
The brothers have received an outpouring of support, including more than $121,000 through a GoFundMe account that has now closed. A local estate planning attorney has also volunteered to open a trust for the brothers to handle all the money that’s been donated.
Additionally, multiple homeless advocate organizations and Veterans Affairs have reached out to assist them.
“These two gentlemen spent a lot of time out on the street struggling before we were able to make that connection, but we’re glad we were able to make it today,” said Sacramento Steps Forward’s Ben Avey. The nonprofit agency works to end homelessness in the region.
In an interview with Fox news, Clifford said, “It made me proud to be an American citizen, that there are so many good people.”