SKIDMORE, Texas — Hurricane Harvey left behind damage that many in the Coastal Bend are still trying to recover from nearly four years later, including a Bee County veteran.
It's been a long road to recovery for Kevin Allen, Harvey was just another setback. The storm left his house virtually unlivable.
“We've been living out of our bedroom for the last three years,” said Allen.
Allen and his wife bought pre-fabricated buildings, and have worked to make them a home.
“Nothing was in it when we got them, so I've been working on them since, as much as I can during the day, because of my injuries, so it takes a while,” said Allen.
Allen served 11 years in the U.S. Air Force, and was deployed as part of Operation Desert Storm. His first job was arming A-10 aircraft for combat, that’s when he originally hurt his back. He later broke his back, and was medically retired in 1993 as part of the Department of Defense’s draw-down of the early 90s.
Six months after his discharge, a car crash took one of his eyes. The toll of the last 28 years has been tough.
“I have PTSD from the accident where I broke my back,” said Allen. “I’m on medication for pain and depression.”
After the storm, Allen turned to several relief agencies and non-profits, but always got the same answer.
“We got turned down by FEMA, we also got turned down by Habitat for Humanity,” he said.
So Allen is rebuilding himself, albeit slowly. Some days the pain, both physical and mental, are just too much.
“There's days where I don't want to do anything, I don't even want to get out of bed,” Allen said.
One of the buildings needs kitchen and bathroom fixtures installed, the other needs wiring and sheetrock work. Allen says he has the materials, he just needs a hand finishing the job.
“I try to do as much as I can each day,” said Allen.
As is the case with many veterans, it wasn't easy for Allen to ask for help. Anyone willing or able to help him get his fixtures installed should call the Veterans in Focus Hotline at 361-654-1620 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.