Our friend and fellow home buyer, Carlos Barrera came across a horrible living situation a few weeks ago. We tend to see some messy houses from time to time. This house was the worst that both Carlos and I had ever seen. This particular situation hit home with me because the person living in the house was, like my father, a Viet Nam Veteran.
For those who know Carlos he loves to help his community. Much of what he does is on the low, meaning he doesn't typically like to announce to the world or social media what he is doing. However, Carlos felt compelled to reach out to his community to help this Veteran named, Sam. I am so glad that he did.
Sam was renting his house. The house was in complete disarray. The home itself was not functional. The water barley ran in the kitchen and not at all in the shower and bathroom. There was junk and trash bags upon trash bags stacked up in the house. There was hardly any room to walk. Sam slept on a mattress in the middle of his living room. It was the only spot in the house that wasn't covered in filth. He needed help and our investor community stepped up.
Carlos chose to get his investor community involved because
#1 He couldn't do it alone.
#2 To help bring awareness of depression and where it can lead to.
#3 Help people understand what they can do if they know someone who is going through something similar.
Our plan was to help clean his home. A local dumpster supply company volunteered a 30ft dumpster. We had 10 volunteers ready and dressed in hazmat suits (yes it was that bad). However, as we began cleaning it didn't take 2 minutes to realize that this house would never be the same again. At least not in a days work. We needed to get Sam out of there right away. We immediately made the decision to put same and his dog up in a hotel room until we figured out a better living situation. Sam spent the weekend at a local hotel. We bought him a change of clothes, fresh food and drinks. Some others volunteered toiletries and dog food.
Here is a recap of the day from Carlos Berrera's facebook page, "We had a good crew show up to help, we started cleaning out and it was just too much, I am glad Christy Duckett Harris was there with her Mom pants on to help us think it through. Long story short, Sam is in a hotel for the weekend and will be in a new place next week. He was very happy that he will be able to take a nice hot shower and had a clean place to sleep in. Thank God forRobert Kim, Christy, Kim Harris, David Liebe II, Jaime Hiller and a few others that helped and can’t tag, but I just want to thank you so much for making this possible, it would of not had been possible with out you guys and I hope this encourages others to do the same, use your network and friends for something positive and make a difference in the community."
We had a rental property available that was perfect for Sam. We moved him into the property the following Tuesday. Some other veterans who were also part of our investor community volunteered furniture for his new home. It was amazing to see it all come together.
Depression is a serious issue. Like my father and much of his generation, Sam was taught to keep his head down. Don't ask for anything. Your problems are your problems. As of now we are helping him receive more benefits from the VA (right now he gets 1/2 of his benefits). We've reintroduced him to resources that can help him deal with the depression. Sometimes people just need a little help and little love. This is man who fought for our Country and our freedoms.
Last night as I was giving my children a bath, I thought about all the things I want in life but at that moment I thought all we need is each other and was so grateful for a roof and water to keep them clean.
Today at church the message was about the things we want in life and how important are they? After you get one thing you want you are on to the next and then the next. Does this really make you happy and fulfilled. Wow it’s amazing how that message tied to last weeks events. I have had many "a-ha" life changing moments in my life but yesterday really opened my eyes to what is important. I am only writing this to encourage others to find your Why and what drives you. Be happy life is so short!
I also would love to give a shout out to Dr Kat Owens!! She immediately reached out to me about Sam the Vet with all kinds of options and ideas! You are the best girl! I will be sharing additional resources on this post in the comment section. If you know of anything that can help others dealing with similar situations, please comment below.
Special Thanks to the following people who led a helping hand:
John Bolos Sr
Jennifer Chason Moemen
Congaree House of Pizza
and everyone else who I may have forgot to mention!