An online campaign is seeking to raise money to renovate the Tuba City home of a Navajo Code Talker -- one of only 12 such veterans still living.
Dan Akee, who celebrated his 94th birthday last week, is currently unable to live in his home due to its condition, according to a release from Red Feather, a nonprofit organization that supports safe and healthy housing for Native Americans. The campaign aims to raise $70,000 to repair the house for Akee, who says returning to his home is "all I want to do before I die."
Akee was born on the Navajo Nation and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943. He was one of 450 Code Talkers, who used the Navajo language to transmit coded messages during World War II. The code was never broken and is credited with, among other things, helping the Allies win the Battle of Iwo Jima.
After the war, Akee married and had 12 children. He worked in railroads and in uranium ore processing before becoming an interpreter at Tuba City Hospital. He retired from there in 1988. He now uses a wheelchair full time and was recently hospitalized with pneumonia.
Among the planned improvements to Akee's house are a new roof, window replacements, plumbing and electrical work, and wheelchair access ramps.