Local veteran needs help after Hurricane Irma

OKEECHOBEE — An 85-year-old Korean War veteran in Riverbend Mobile Home & R.V. Park is in need of assistance in repairing damage done to his home by Hurricane Irma.

Frank E. Sullivan said Friday, Nov. 10, that he “needs help” but does not know where to go or what to do. Sullivan is an 85-year-old Korean War veteran who is now having problems with post-Hurricane Irma recovery measures. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has offered Sullivan only $1,000 for the damages his mobile home received, an amount that Sullivan says is insufficient.

“I need a new roof, a floor, and some of the wall paneling has been damaged,” Sullivan said about the hits his home took from Irma. Black mold was observed inside the mobile home ceiling, and the floor had holes under the carpet.

Sullivan did say that a FEMA inspector came out to assess the property after he went to the Agri-Civic Center to report the damages. Sullivan also requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers put the tarp on the roof, but he said “an extremely poor job [was done] on the installation,” noting that the roof still leaked and had to be tarped over by his neighbor, Terry Miller.

Miller also replaced Mr. Sullivan’s driveway awning with some of his own aluminum roofing that had been displaced by the storm, and replaced an inside section of roof in an effort to reduce the leakage into the living room.

Sullivan informed the Okeechobee News that the Visiting Nurse Association(VNA) suspended visits to his residence just last week due to the condition of the house in its current state. Sullivan says he suffers from glaucoma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and that the mold combined with the heat have made his breathing more labored as of late.

Sullivan also said that he has hand-written a letter to be sent to both State Rep. Cary Pigman and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

Mr. Sullivan can be reached through Okeechobee News reporter Matteo Tullio. Call the Okeechobee News, 863-763-3134, and ask for Matt.

Frank Sullivan sits in front of a tree that had to be cut into pieces after it fell on his trailer during hurricane Irma. Sullivan, a Korean war vet, says that his home is so badly damaged that nurses from the Visiting Nurse Association have been unable to enter his residence to provide care. Photo by Richard Marion.

Korean War veteran Frank Sullivan points to a hole in his roof that a tree branch came through after being knocked down during Hurricane Irma. Sullivan, who suffers from COPD, says that mold has started growing and that the roof still leaked despite the tarp provided by FEMA. Photo by Richard Marion.


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