A Parker County community is banding together to help an Army veteran in his 80s.
His home, in a small city northwest of Azle, is in need of major fixing.
When Springtown residents discovered one of their own was living in deplorable conditions, they took action.
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“They’re cleaning up the mess that I made. Things that I couldn’t do,” said Teddy Hufman.
He's not just any neighbor. He’s an 85-year-old retired soldier who served in the Korean War.
“We were about 35 miles north of Kunsan,” he recalled. “We maintained the radio communications between Seoul and Tokyo.”
Hufman returned home and worked for American Airlines. His humble home fell into disrepair after he suffered a stroke years ago. With no living family members and no money, it was the cable man who alerted house cleaner Rene Dodd to his customer’s situation.
“Darius at Spectrum called me and asked me to come out and clean. I come out the next day and realized that this was more than I could handle by myself,” Dodd said. “It’s heartbreaking to think that anybody could live in these conditions.”
Overwhelmed by the amount of work needed to be done, Dodd enlisted her own army to help.
There is a ‘Make His House Safe Again’ page on Facebook inviting people to volunteer. “They invaded the area I was in,” said Hufman. “They took all of it.”
Dozens of volunteers have helped clear out old and broken items, clean and replace furniture and appliances. But the mission is far from over.
Dodd spent her Thursday morning painting a back room.
“Getting the material and getting the people to volunteer with their special skills like electricians, the plumbers, the painters. I’ve been painting myself,” she said.
The kindness of strangers has brought tears to the soldier’s eyes.
“I want to thank them very much,” he said wiping away tears.
Hufman used his cane to show piles of new clothes. “This is a coat. That’s very nice,” he said wiping away another tear.
“He’s my grandpa’s age and I couldn’t imagine just walking away knowing my grandfather was in this condition and could fall,” Dodd said.
Hufman says he’s already fallen five times since suffering his stroke.
North Texans are banding together to keep this veteran right where he wants to be: home.
“He’s lived here 21 years. It’s home,” Dodd said. “He did a lot for us and this is my way of saying thank you.”
The biggest need right now is for an electrician, a carpenter and a painter willing to give their time to help in the cleanup effort.
Dodd says they are also in need of materials including cabinets, countertops and two bathtubs.
ONLINE: For more information and to learn how you can volunteer, visit: https://www.facebook.com/TarrantCountyHousecleaning