Community Steps Up to Help WWII Vet Facing Eviction

As a 96-year-old World War II veteran living in a mobile home, Lucien E. Lebrun figured he had already paid his dues.

But apparently the owners of the Cypress Shores retirement community in Winter Haven, Florida, where he lives did not agree.

“Chet,” as he is known, uses a walker to get around. While he values his independence, he is unable to do much in the way of physical labor. And he is on a fixed income.

Recently, he was served an eviction notice. Why? For failing to fix damage to his home caused by Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma’s Wrath Still Plagues Vet

The storm that tore through Florida in late summer last year wreaked havoc on many dwellings.

Chet’s mobile home was one of them. High winds lifted part of the aluminum from the side and roof of the structure. And water got inside the walls of his home.

Chet applied for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). But he did not receive funds to make repairs. He is appealing that decision, according to a friend who has power of attorney for him.

After receiving the eviction notice in February, Chet spoke to a local TV station. “When they sent me that notice, ‘You got seven days to fix it,’ imagine fixing all that, seven days. I can’t even stand up,” he said.

Chet Thought the Government Would Help Him

Chet’s friend, Karen Bingham, spoke to representatives of the community’s management company. They informed her that because Chet owns the mobile home, he is solely responsible for repairing it.

She told Fox News, “They never said, ‘Hey, what can we do to help. Maybe we can have someone on the maintenance crew help out.'”

Chet has lived in his mobile home with his cat for the past five years. He has resided in the community since the late 1970s. Well before that, he served in the U.S. Army for four years during World War II.

“He’s very upset that he’s being treated this way,” Bingham said. “He thought there was no way they would evict him because the government would step in.”

Friend Raising Money to Assist

Bingham, who said Chet “takes pride in his independence,” set up a GoFundMe account to help him pay for repairs. She said they had raised $14,000 as of recently.

In addition, two local businessmen heard about Chet’s plight. They’ve offered to buy him a new mobile home in a nearby retirement community.

She is also petitioning Senator Marco Rubio’s office to take a look at Chet’s FEMA application.

“I would just like to do this for him,” Bingham said. “Just have him happy and live in peace without being harassed.”

Appealing to FEMA

Retirement community officials did not respond to a call from Fox News about the situation, according to the media outlet.

A FEMA official did, however. He said the agency “takes all appeals for disaster assistance seriously.”

The official said the agency has provided about $1 billion in grants to Florida homeowners and renters. The money has gone for damage and serious losses not covered by insurance related to Irma recovery.

FEMA is not legally allowed to duplicate insurance payments or assistance provided by other agencies or programs.

Veterans Deserve Our Support

It’s very disturbing to see a 96-year-old World War II vet like Chet facing eviction.

But it’s wonderful to see how a friend, two businessmen and many GoFundMe contributors are doing what they can to help him.

We all owe a debt of gratitude to veterans such as Chet. Imagine how the world might be today had countless Americans not been willing to lay down their lives for the sake of freedom.

Here’s to hoping Chet and others like him are able to spend the remainder of their lives in peace and safety.


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