With flood waters receding, the real work is just beginning for those so devastated by Hurricane Harvey in southeast Texas and Louisiana. In yet another inspiring example of people coming together to help one another, former Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, the man whose life and service inspired the book and film Lone Survivor, and his wife Melanie are leading the charge to help a nearly 100-year-old Houston-area veteran rebuild his home that was ravaged by flood waters.
Bill Fly is a 99 year old World War II veteran, who served as a First Lieutenant in the Army Air Forces in the European theater. He and his wife Mary Beth built their Northwest Harris County home in 1972, and their daughter Kathy told KHOU-TV that her parents never purchased flood insurance because they never had a reason to.
That all changed, however, when Harvey left Fly’s home under some three feet of water. The veteran, whose wife passed away just three months ago after 69 years of marriage, was left shell shocked by the damage.
“It’s hard to believe that used to be in my house,” Fly said of the pile of rubble that currently occupies his front yard. “It just takes your breath away.”
While Fly did lose some irreplaceable things in the storm—namely, photos of and letters from his beloved wife)=—a group of volunteers, including the Luttrells, are on a mission to get the soon-to-be centenarian back in his home by his 100th birthday on November 1.
Work is well underway on the property, and a YouCaring campaign set up by Melanie Luttrell on September 5 has well surpassed its fundraising goal of $75,000. She has promised any funds left over from the Fly project will be used to help other veterans impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
“It’s turned such a disaster into such an amazing experience,” Fly’s daughter told KHOU-TX. “It really has.”
Fly, meanwhile, remains overwhelmed by the kindness and compassion of the community around him.
“They can’t realize how much it’s appreciated,” he said tearfully. “I just think of all these people who come in and helped like they did, donated money to what they could. I can’t…”