Lucien E Lebrun (aka “Chet”) is a WWII veteran who served in the US Army from 1941 to 1945 in the Pacific theater. He is facing eviction from his home at Cypress Shores in Winter Haven, Florida because he hasn’t been able to get repairs made to his home after Hurricane Irma. He is 97 years old. The community is set to initiate eviction procedures on Friday, Feb 23.
The hurricane severely damaged his mobile home, and he has not had the money, nor the physical ability to repair it. Local groups have mowed his lawn for him, but the repairs are significant. He’s been cited for weeds in his yard as well. But he can’t do what the community is asking him to do. He’s been a part of Cypress Shores for 5 years.
“The car port ended up on the other side of the mobile home. I was sitting here and it was pretty bad. It took the roof off my shed….They want me to fix the skirting and paint the house. I can’t even walk…
I spent three years in the jungle, fighting. I never complain, but there’s not much I can do about it.” Chet Lebrun
His petition to FEMA for assistance has been denied. Twice. Senator Marco Rubio has been trying to get help expedited, but so far no luck.
Karen Bingham, who holds his Power of Attorney, set up a GoFundMe page for Lebrun. It reads in part,
“He lost his entire covered carport which protected his electric scooter and golf cart from the weather. These are his only form of transportation around the park as the state revoked his drivers license due to his age 3 years ago. Chet’s roof of his mobile home was also damaged extensively, there is rain and moisture entering his home which has caused mildew that will soon become mold and could cause him health issues.”
The VA says he has severe dementia and shouldn’t be living alone with his cat. Karen Bingham says it’s not dementia at all. A local veteran’s advocate and candidate for the board of commissioners also says he doesn’t have dementia.
“He was adamant that if he was forced to go into an assisted-living facility, he’d end up homeless. The VA claims he has severe dementia and that’s just not true. He’s very private, and he deserves to be treated better than he has been after all he’s done for this country.” Kat Gates-Skipper, veterans advocate and candidate for Board of County Commissioners
Most of the elderly veterans I’ve known are extremely stubborn about their privacy and independence. They aren’t interested in socializing with a bunch of strangers -playing cards and watching movies together. They just want to be independent. Mr. Lebrun seems to fits into that category.
According to the Ledger,
During his service in the Pacific, he suffered significant wounds to his shins. After leaving the service, he needed plastic surgery for burns on his arms after an explosion occurred at a car dealership where he worked in New Zealand.
“He’s like a walking history book,” Gates-Skipper said. “He still has his American flag flying; bless his heart. He wanted to replace his flag. That was something that was very important to him.”
Whether they relocate Mr. Lebrun or fix his mobile home, we hope he will be able to continue to be independent and not be forced into an assisted living facility.
Featured image: Chet Lebrun photo from the GoFundMe page