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Veterans seek help from the community for Ian cleanup

fort myers beach ian wide shot daylight
Posted at 9:22 PM, Nov 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-14 10:36:56-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — This Veterans Day weekend seniors and veterans on Fort Myers beach are in need of clean-up help at the American Legion Post 274.

When touring the legion, it was evident how much was lost.

“We had artifacts here from World War I, II Vietnam War. It was displayed beautifully,” said Judy Pitts, the president of Post 274. “Amazing some of the things that were in here.”

Memorabilia donated by veterans over the years submerged under 8- feet of water was the most gut-wrenching loss for the Post 274 members.

“We have some of the things people gave us. This came from Afghanistan,” said Joe Bulloc, the commander of Post 274.

“We are going to see what we can’t salvage and what we can’t save. You know some of this stuff is irreplaceable, we can’t replace it,” Pitts said.

Irreplaceable items include donated memorabilia from purple heart veterans, military weapons, and original photos from the wars.

“I don’t have any words, it’s just crazy,” Bulloc said. “It looked like a bomb went off.”

Post 274 sits right before the Matanzas Pass Bridge. Commander Bulloc said when he first saw the legion after Ian it looked worse than when he was in combat in Vietnam.

While giving a tour, Pitts pointed out a painting of the American Flag with the Twin towers and a ship that wasn’t damaged in the storm. That painting still gives these veterans and seniors hope as they roll up their sleeves and clean up and rebuild to get their post back up and running---and hopefully with the help of the community.

“Our veterans are from the Vietnam era, Korean War, they are up in age,” Pitts said. “It’s not healthy for them to be in this environment.”

”Come help a veteran, and be proud to be an American,” Commander Bulloc said.