CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It's a homeowner's worst nightmare, watching everything you own go up in smoke. That's what happened to a local veteran and his wife last December.
Troy and Sylvia Tuttle watched their home burn about 10 months ago. They lost everything they owned that night, and their rebuilding process has been slow and equally painful.
“We've been displaced for almost a year,” Troy said. “All we can do is hope for the best and keep working.”
The problem is: Troy has a hard time working.
“I can't even swing a hammer anymore,” he said.
An old neck injury had his vertebrae severing his spinal cord.
“It was getting cut from behind and the front,” he said. “So I either had to have surgery or become a quadriplegic.”
Months later, the unthinkable happened as fire ripped through their Nandina Dr. home, nearly destroying it.
“We lost everything,” he said. “What we could save, we saved, we have in storage; other than than, everything's gone.”
“It just came and destroyed our lives basically,” said Sylvia Tuttle.
The Tuttles were fixing their home to get insurance. There are no programs available for rebuilding from a fire, even for veterans. With Troy injured, Sylvia picks up the slack the best she can, often working 12-hour days, seven days a week.
“I work as much overtime as possible, I spend most of my time at work,” she said. “All the extra money that we have goes into trying to repair the house.”
Sylvia said she is shattered knowing how desperately Troy wants to help.
“He's constantly telling me he feels so bad that he can't work, can't help me with anything,” Sylvia said.
On the outside there's been progress, with new walls and a new roof. Inside, there's a long way to go before the Tuttles can go home.
“It is what it is, we just rely on faith,” said Sylvia. “A lot.”
“I wouldn't wish this on anybody,” Troy added. “It's something you could say you're ready for, no you're not.”
The Tuttles said they had hoped to be back in their home by the holidays. Now, they realize that would take a Christmas miracle.