Bronze Star veteran living in tent 3 months after flood

Bronze Star veteran living in tent 3 months after flood

FRENCH SETTLEMENT, LA (WAFB) - One veteran bravely served the country and most recently braved the August flood only to now find himself living in his front yard in a tent.

Mecca Road in French Settlement is where 73-year-old David King enjoys a quiet, peaceful life, but for the past three months, it has been anything but that.

"I'm 6-foot-2 and if you can get up where my finger is at, that gives about seven feet. That's how high the water was," King said.

Nearly seven feet of water from the Amite River inundated King's trailer. Inside of the trailer, all that's left of it are pieces of wood.

"It's got that pressed wood in there and when that pressed wood gets wet, it swells up and just breaks," King said.

King said there is so much black mold and mildew towards the back of the trailer that it is not livable, but that at one point, he was living in it.

Now, his home is a tent set up in his yard.

"That's my condo. That's a condo in French Settlement, Louisiana," King said.

He has got a mattress in there, a closet and some basics. When he needs to use facilities, he goes inside his moldy trailer or across the street to a port-a-potty.

"I'm comfortable, but I'm living on the ground," King said.

That tent was donated by the Cajun Army and he said many other donations came from them and the Cajun Navy, but the part that hurts him the most?

"When you serve your country and you live in a tent in your front yard, there's no assistance to you and I'm a veteran," King said.

King served during the Vietnam War, is a highly decorated veteran and in 1965, received a Bronze Star for saving a Navy SEAL.

"They gave me an accommodation letter and a Bronze Star. A hero, I never considered myself that. I just considered myself doing a job and I did it. Saving someone's life was just a part of it," King said.

He said he didn't think twice before he dove in the water to save the SEAL while serving his country, but decades later, when water took over his place, he said the government has left him out to dry.

King said FEMA initially gave him $1,700 to basically get him back on his feet. When he appealed, he said he was told that he did not have flood insurance so he was denied and that any money he had left over from that $1,700, he should use it to buy a new trailer. He is currently in his second appeal with FEMA.

He said SBA denied him because he does not make enough money. The only help he has is Cajun Army, Cajun Navy, and friends.

"My son got killed in January this year. His mother died on New Year's Eve and he was killed 24 days later and then I got hit with this. It don't get worse than that," King said.

However, his spirits are still high and everything about him proudly says he has served our country. A flag draped on the side of his porch that survived the flood is proof.

"That flag right there is something we fought for for years and years and years, for that red, white and blue, and it means a hell of a lot to people and it means a hell of a lot to me. That's why I haven't even trimmed it. It's become like that worn out now," King said.

It may be worn out but it is still giving him that feeling his home is his mecca despite his current situation.

A call into FEMA to ask questions about King's case was not returned.

The Department of Veteran's Affairs has approved a Military Family Assistance Fund Emergency Flood Relief application so King should receive a $350 check by Friday, Nov. 25.

King's friends are trying to raise money to buy him a new trailer.

Anyone who would like to help donate can make a check out to Be Someone's Miracle-SWLA and "Veteran's Fund" must be put in the memo line. Check should be mailed to:

4507 Hwy 27 South
Sulphur, Louisiana 70665

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