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Family Story

Septic Repair Saves Veteran’s Dream Home

By Operation Homefront

March 21, 2024

Septic Repair Saves Army Veteran’s Dream Home

Hershel Tidwell was in the police academy when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. In 2002, he decided he could pursue his plan of being a police officer while serving his country in the Army as a military police officer.

He worked in the military police during his 11 years of service and deployed to Iraq in 2006 and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2010.  

It was PTSD resulting from his time at Guantanamo Bay that led to a medical retirement as a sergeant in 2013. 

Throughout his military career, Hershel’s wife Jennifer was by his side. The two met through mutual friends and were married in 2003 after Hershel returned from being stationed in Korea. In their 20 years of marriage, the couple has had the usual changes of station, deployments, and the stress that comes with being in the service, all while their family grew to include seven kids. The children range in age from 5 to 17.  

Along with Hershel living in Korea, the family has lived in Germany, Arizona, and Florida. 

“Operation Homefront was the best thing that ever happened to us.” – Hershel Tidwell, Army veteran

They put down roots in the Sunshine State.  

In May 2022, the Tidwells bought a house they “fell in love with,” Hershel said. It was one in which their large family could be comfortable.  

However, the excitement of being first-time homeowners dimmed when they learned about a serious, and undisclosed, problem with the septic system. A leak in the septic drain field was causing the tank to fill faster than ordinary.  

“Every few weeks we had to get the tank pumped, and it was $300-plus every single time,” Hershel said. 

The listing for the home indicated the house was connected to public sewer service. However, Hershel got no help when he reached out to the previous owner and listing agent.  

With estimates over $6,000, Hershel and Jennifer did not know how, with a large family and limited budget, they could pay to correct the costly problem.  

Jennifer searched online for organizations that help veterans. They called three who did not cover repairs and bills.  

Then they reached out to Operation Homefront, which Hershel had heard about. However, he was unaware of the nonprofit’s Critical Financial Assistance program, designed to provide short-term financial help for active-duty military and veteran families who are experiencing financial hardship. 

The Tidwells applied and were excited to learn that, with the support of Operation Homefront’s generous donors, they could fund the $5,715 repair.  

Without Operation Homefront, Hershel does not know what they would have done.  

“Operation Homefront was the best thing to ever happen to us,” Hershel said. “We honestly thought CFA was just a loan, and to learn it wasn’t, was such a blessing. We were at the end of the rope. This helped save our house.”   

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