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Bergen County Man Who Dedicated Life To Building Homes For Veterans Dies Of Coronavirus

Doug DiPaola, right, receives an award from Paramus Home for Veterans CEO Matthew Schottlander after fixing the gazebo and building the ramp last summer.
Doug DiPaola, right, receives an award from Paramus Home for Veterans CEO Matthew Schottlander after fixing the gazebo and building the ramp last summer. Photo Credit: Dennis M. Duddie

All Doug DiPaola was called to the Paramus Veterans Home to do last July was provide an estimate on how much it would be to replace the roof of a gazebo and a walkway behind the facility.

Instead, DiPaola did all the work himself completely free of charge -- and even added a ramp.

DiPaola, who dedicated his life to bettering lives of veterans, died Easter Sunday of coronavirus.

"He was so generous," said Frank Calandrillo, Vice Chairman of the Veteran Advisory Council at the Veterans Home in Paramus.

"We never expected him to do all that. We had the money. He didn't charge us a dime."

Of New Jersey's three veterans homes, the one in Paramus was hit the hardest. As of last week, 24 residents died of COVID-19 last week. Twenty-three residents of he home tested positive for coronavirus while 47 are waiting results. There were 17 staff members who tested positive and 20 awaiting results.

DiPaola was the CEO of Homes for Veterans, a non-profit organization he started in 2012 out of Harrington Park.

He built ramps, widened doorways, installed new showers and lowered countertops. Anything North Jersey veterans needed to live comfortably, DiPoala made it happen.

"He fulfilled everything that veterans were asking for," said Sophia Dmoch, the commander of American Legion Post 310.

When the Legion needed a pavilion, DiPaola donated funds so veterans could be outside and enjoy the weather.

"I can't say enough good things about the guy," Dmoch said. "He was so giving to everybody."

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