Disabled veterans celebrate unpredictable homecoming after August flood

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Disabled veterans who were evacuated from their home during the August flood are celebrating an unexpected homecoming.

The Magnolia Care Center Veterans Home on Florida Boulevard is open again and looking as good as new.

If you did not already know the damage and devastation the place faced last August, you would never think anything happened there. But if you talk to any of the eight men who lived through it, like disabled US Army National Guard Lt. Kenneth McPhail, he is quick to recount the horrific details.

"We didn't know what to expect," McPhail said. "On the roads, police were shutting down the roads and we didn't have a specific place to go."

Four feet of water ruined the place and everything inside. The veterans were safe but they were homeless.

"I was thinking I would never come back here seeing the floods," McPhail added.

It was especially frustrating for their relatives like Gary Dyer, who has visited his brother, Lloyd, at the home for three years.

"We were just out of the loop," Dryer said. "We had no idea. So, it was tremendous amount of stress for our entire family."

Getting back was no easy task. But after several months of hard work and dedication by the owner, Byron Comeaux, and other volunteers, the residents are back.

"Our last veteran arrived last night," Comeaux said.

New flags fly high over their rebuilt home, which came furnished with brand new recliners, rocking chairs and game tables. The amenities are nice, but Comeaux said the treatment they receive there is what is most important.

"This is where everyday activity is going on, where their medication comes, where the nurses and doctors come here for them. This is their environment," Comeaux added.

It is all they know. There, they are family and life as they know it is finally back to normal.

"To know he is close to home and being taken care of, it gives us a peace of mind knowing someone cares," Dyer explained.

The veterans home relies on donations from the public to make life comfortable for residents.

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