Although he hasn’t fought for approximately 70 years ago, Hyman “Big Hy” Strachman continues to support US troops overseas by sending them hundreds of thousands of DVD films, working 365 days a year (including Christmas) to purchase, package and ship them from his small Massapequa, NY apartment with the help of his son Arthur.
The 93-year old WW II vet (who later became a stock broker), began sending the films to troops in eleven years ago, shortly before the death of his beloved wife Harriet. Since then his “Big Hy for Heroes” campaign has not only filled the void from her loss, but has kept him “alive and sharp-witted.”
And while he admits to having “boot-legged” copies of films in the past, he now states that he only buys the films through e-bay after becoming fearful of breaking copyright laws.To date, Arthur estimates that his father has spent over $55,000 since beginning "Big Hy for Heroes."
He has also received support from donors including Zach Galifiankis, who has sent him hundreds of copies of his “Hangover” movies (some even autographed) after reading about Strachman’s efforts. In addition, Strachman got in tough with video rental company Redbox and convinced them to donate 10,000 DVDs directly to the USO.
“Nobody could hold a candle to my father for his unique gift at inspiring goodness in others,” noted Arthur Strachman, 58, who not only helps his father buy the movies, but writes e-mails for him to the troops. “He is the nicest, most nonjudgemental person you could meet. Somehow that comes through to people, to the soldiers, and they let their own defenses down with him.”
Master Sergeant William Ash, with the Army’s 864th Engineer Battalion in Afghanistan couldn’t agree more. Ash estimates that “Big Hy” has sent his unit over 300 DVDs since he got there in January. Not only are the films used to host movie nights, but are regularly passed around to the 800+ personnel in the battalion. In turn, Ash stated that he is trying to fly a flag he intends to send to Strachman on as many missions as possible before the battalion returns to the States at the end of the year.