Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

WWII veteran's Tampa panhandling stirs offers of help

Anthony Jacondino, 84, a World War II veteran, turned to panhandling along Tampa streets to help pay the bills after his wife suffered a stroke and couldn’t work.


Anthony Jacondino, 84, a World War II veteran, turned to panhandling along Tampa streets to help pay the bills after his wife suffered a stroke and couldn’t work.

TAMPA — Monday started with a call from Veterans Affairs for a World War II veteran who had turned to panhandling to pay his bills.

Anthony Jacondino said the VA wants to see if he might qualify for a disability pension. His appointment: 10 a.m. Friday.

For the first time in months, he feels hopeful.

Jacondino, 84, was the subject of a story in Saturday's St. Petersburg Times, after he caught the attention of motorists at Dale Mabry Highway and Columbus Drive.

He served in the Philippines before leaving the Army in 1947 and then worked most of his life as an apartment maintenance man. His first wife died years ago, and in April, his second wife suffered a stroke.

They had been living on his $980 Social Security check and her income cleaning rooms at a local nursing home. With her unable to work at 62, they fell about $400 behind on their bills each month.

So Jacondino bought an orange vest and penned a message on cardboard: World War II vet in need of help.

Jacondino told a reporter he felt ashamed to beg, but didn't see another option. He hoped that his hearing difficulties might qualify him for some sort of pension. They had appeared soon after the war. He had talked to VA representatives but got nowhere, he said.

After reading about Jacondino, about 50 people contacted the Times, most of them outraged, many asking how to help. (No fund has been set up, but the Times relayed their offers and contact information to Jacondino.)

Sandy Hutton of Belleair said the board of the Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance discussed Jacondino's situation at its Saturday meeting. The nonprofit has since reached out to Jacondino to see if it can help him navigate the VA benefit system.

"It is a heartbreaking thing to read of this gentleman who has served and sacrificed so much for his country," Hutton wrote.

One Tampa reader said that as a fellow veteran, he's particularly concerned. Michael Delamer, 33, said he served seven years in the Coast Guard, leaving in 2009.

"I may have to reach out to the VA one day for help," he said. "What's going to happen to me?"

Many readers asked for an update on the VA's decision. Veteran's officials, contacted last week by the Times, had said they would take another look at Jacondino's case.

Jacondino said his appointment is for a physical examination at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center. It's an important step in determining whether he might be eligible for a disability pension.

"I'll be there," he said.

Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at (813) 226-3433 or

WWII veteran's Tampa panhandling stirs offers of help 01/10/11 [Last modified: Monday, January 10, 2011 10:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rowdies shut out at Pittsburgh


    PITTSBURGH — The Rowdies lost their first USL game in nearly a month, 1-0 to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

  2. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  3. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case


    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  5. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate


    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.