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Family Story

Flood Repairs Helps Veteran’s Health and Wellness

By Operation Homefront

July 10, 2023

Flood Repairs Help Physical and Mental Health of Veteran

Army National Guard veteran Brian Steere joined the military because of a sense of duty to his country and to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather who served in the Navy during World War II. He enlisted in 2008 and had hoped to serve 20 years. However, a hazing incident left him with a spinal cord injury and PTSD. He was medically retired in 2012.

Originally from Nebraska, Brian faced difficulty after his retirement. He was depressed and unsure of his future after retirement, and the cold weather in his home state of Nebraska aggravated his injuries and made it difficult to enjoy outdoor activities.

Brian relocated to Florida with his preteen daughter after he and his wife divorced.

There, he gained a support system through veteran groups and ventured into inclusive sporting events such as Face of America Gettysburg, a 108-mile, two-day bike.  He also enrolled in a program to become a pastoral marriage counselor.

Brian encountered a rough patch after Hurricane Ian damaged his house.

The house was not in a flood zone, and it had endured other hurricanes. But this time, the storm and flood waters caused extensive damage.

The sewer backed up, part of the roof was torn off, and a foot of water was collected in the home.

Brian’s daughter moved back to her mom’s house, but he had nowhere to go, and he didn’t know how he was going to pay for the repairs.

Trying to get assistance and navigate the FEMA system was difficult. Though he did get a FEMA loan, he had to pay it back after receiving a different federal loan.

He turned to Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit whose mission is to create strong, stable, and secure military families. Brian had experience with the Critical Financial Assistance program, which helped his family in 2018.

Thanks to generous donors, like The Home Depot Foundation, Operation Homefront was able to assist Brian with getting new kitchen cabinets, repairing siding and soffits, and installing flooring. The total cost of those materials and repairs was about $18,600.

The floor and cabinets were the biggest help and bring back normalcy in the house and that’s key when it comes to my physical and mental health.
Brian Steere, Army National Guard veteran

“It was nice once my floors were in so I could bring in my kitchen table,” said Brian, who had been living in his bedroom because the rest of the house was not livable. Being stuck in one room, not able to cook healthy meals, or even just sitting at a kitchen table took its toll.

“I had a place to sit outside my bedroom, I was able to eat someplace and read a book. And I was able to pick up a couch and have a place to sit and leave the bedroom which was super nice. It gave me some normalcy to my life after eight months.”

Brian is grateful for the donors’ assistance.

“The floor and cabinets were the biggest help and bring back normalcy in the house and that’s key when it comes to my physical and mental health. Without that help from Operation Homefront, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now.”

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