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Tuesday
Sep102013

Twitter peeps aim at helping Connecticut veteran keep his smokes and his home

On Friday I was wandering around Twitter and came across the story of Andy Nowicki. Mr. Nowicki is This is the brand of e-cig that I finally settled on after trying many different kinds.facing eviction from his housing in Newington (Conn.), and people across the country are understandably outraged despite the gentleman’s politically incorrect habit.

First some background.

Mr. Nowicki is 90 years old, and according to The Hartford Courant, a decorated veteran of World War II:

Between 1942 and 1945, Nowicki fought in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany, earning a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. Shrapnel shredded his leg in 1945, leaving him partially disabled.

Why are he and his wife Leona, also 90 and reportedly suffering from Alzheimer’s, getting the boot?

He smokes.

Media have reported Nowicki can’t go the required distance to abide by the Newington Housing Authority rules because of “war wounds and old age.” So he smokes in the breezeway.

As a fellow smoker, I empathize. I’ve also had relatives with asthma, though, and I’m keenly aware of the risks such people face if they’re exposed to smoke.

When I learned about the veteran’s plight, I told Isabelle H. Gustafson [‏@izzysroses] who had first put out the word I would follow up and see what I could do.

As best I can tell, the story began getting attention after a caller talked to Jim Vicevich [@jimvicevich] about Nowicki on WTIC AM talk radio in Hartford. Jim is a “Republitarian” and that label comes closest to describing me. Ironically, I don’t have a show, but I do a segment each week here in Jacksonville for talk radio on The Cindy Graves Show [WBOB 600 AM]. There’s even more irony—Vicevich likes sporting clays and my husband is a champ at that. Talk about commonality.

Anyway, I posted a message on my personal Facebook page about the veteran’s plight, and I immediately had people volunteering to help.

Then I sent a Facebook email to Mr. Nowicki’s daughter. I hope I’ll hear back from her.

Then I phoned the Newington Housing Authority, and I was surprised by the response. The woman who answered the phone said they were getting “a lot of calls.” But if you were expecting a wicked bureaucrat, she doesn’t fit the bill.

And she was willing to listen to my suggestion.

I told her about the electronic cigarettes I frequently use. For one thing, they’re cheaper. For another, they cut the amount of cigarettes I was smoking (although they might not do that for a heavy smoker). There’s no risk from charging because they’re disposable. Best of all, the vapor produced doesn’t pose the dangers smoke poses to others, especially those who have breathing problems.

There are other benefits I didn’t share with her because I knew she was fielding a lot of phone calls. Such are the consequences of media exposure.

The brand I settled on after trying many different brands has a deal where you keep the cigarette once it’s used up—they’re equivalent to about two packs, but more than that for me because I smoke very mild cigarettes anyway—and the company will send you a freebie when you’ve used 8 and return the empties.

I also told the Housing Authority I have a group of volunteers here in Florida and we will supply Mr. Nowicki with the e-cigs free. No strings. No government involvement. Just a gift from folks who appreciate our veterans. These unofficial volunteers have helped other groups like those who assist our veterans and private fundraisers for people in need. To me that’s the essence of charity—doing something quietly, for no acclaim and no benefit—just because you want to help someone.

At any rate, the Nowickis are supposed to have a meeting on September 17. My offer will be included in the discussion. I hope an agreement is reached because, as Isabelle put it:

“Vets should be treated w/respect & homelessness is not acceptable.”

It surprised me, though, the exchange with the Housing office. I honestly didn’t get the impression that the Authority is eager to kick the veteran out. On the contrary, they seemed willing to work with him. So let’s hope a solution can be found that’s acceptable to everyone, those who like a smoke and those who can’t tolerate it.

There was another coincidence in my Twitter exchanges about this. Like my daughters, Isabelle is a musician. Small world when it comes to kindred spirits, isn’t it?

(Filed by Kay B. Day/Sept. 10, 2013)

Ed. Note: I derive no compensation or rewards for mentioning the brand of e-cig I use. The US Report (and I personally) never review or recommend anything in exchange for money or perks. Even politicians.
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Reader Comments (2)

Ms. Day, as you know I recently stopped smoking conventional cigs and moved to e-cigs.......I am now and hopefully will remain a non-conventional smoker (actually am not using the e-cigs anymore either). Hopefully with everyone's help we can find the best way for the Nowickis' to stay in their home. Let me know what we (my husband and I) can do to help further.

September 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Sirman

I hope so, Susan. We'll know on Sept. 17 for sure. Thank you for offering to help. We have such great people in our circle!

September 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterKay B. Day, Editor
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