ROBSTOWN, TEXAS — A local veteran struggling to get by hasn’t been able to afford basic necessities to keep his home running for years.
Luis Guerrero is part of a family tradition of service. Not only did he volunteer for the military more than once, he's also volunteered at home when times are dark for many, all while dealing with his own dark times.
“I just feel bad for people that are down and out, and I’m one of them,” said Guerrero.
Things weren’t always so tough for Guerrero. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1972 and was trained as a corpsman assigned to Marine units.
“Camp Pendleton, Camp LeJune, Iwakuni, Okinawa, Camp Smith, Hawaii,” Guerrero said, listing off his various duty stations.
When Guerrero got out of the Navy, he joined the Texas Army National Guard. After that, he did another tour on active duty with the Navy before his discharge in 1983.
For Guerrero, however, discharge didn’t mean the end of his service.
“When Hurricane Katrina occurred, I decided to volunteer,” said Guerrero.
Guerrero volunteered for the American Red Cross traveling to disaster areas.
In 2016, Guerrero was sent to North Carolina following Hurricane Matthew. One problem: he forgot to pay his water bill before he left.
“When I got back, I don’t think anything would have happened, but I checked my meter,” said Guerrero. “They took my meter off, I don’t have any water. If you don’t have any water, they close your gas, so I don’t have any gas.”
He’s been without ever since. Guerrero cooks all his meals in a microwave and says without his neighbor’s help, he’d have no access to water.
The cost to reconnect his services?
“A little bit over $500, I don’t have that money,” said Guerrero. “I can’t work because I don’t have a car. The money I get from Social Security is not much, and I only get 10% disability. I live on around $400 a month.”
Even if the water worked, Guerrero says he wouldn’t be able to heat it because the water heater is busted. So is his stove, and his refrigerator is starting to fail as well.
“There’s a lot of people worse (off) than me,” said Guerrero. “They don’t have no water, they don’t have no roof, they don’t have nothing.”
Even though things seem dark, Guerrero says he always looks on the bright side. He says his military training has helped him be able to adapt.