WWII vet recovering from stroke hopes to sing in Christmas choir

Augie Flores is seen in his U.S. Marines uniform during one of his three tours of duty during World War II. (Provided photo)

Augie Flores could tell you a lot of stories.

He could tell you about when he was 17 years old and lied to join the Marines so he could fight in World War II.

He could tell you about the time he fought in Iwo Jima or the time Saipan.

He could tell you how he was awarded the Purple Heart and a Presidential Unit Citation.

He could tell you about the men he trained to fight in the Korean War.

Yes, Flores has a lot of stories. But these days, those stories are a little harder to tell.

In October, Flores suffered a stroke that paralyzed the left side of his body.

"One day, you're able to eat and walk and talk," said Flores. "Then, all of a sudden, you're nobody."

At 94 years old, Flores is now relearning many basic day-to-day activities. While learning how to take care of himself again is important to Flores, another goal is taking priority.

Flores has been a member of the choir at St. Francis Church in Bakersfield for 15 years. He said the choir is his life. So while many are hoping for gifts this holiday season, Flores is hoping he will be able to sing with his choir this Christmas Eve.

As much as Flores misses the choir, the choir misses him equally.

"He's the rock of our tenor," said Deanna Debondt, the choir director. "It would mean everything just to have him back."

Flores is making extraordinary progress and is getting his vocal chords loose for the big day.

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