American Legion helping veteran living in deplorable conditions

(Source: WGCL)

The American Legion in McDonough is asking for help after they found a veteran and his wife living in deplorable conditions. The King family is now staying in a hotel after volunteers fixing their roof found rodents inside the walls.

When Walter Watson agreed to fix a leak in a roof for a veteran, he wasn't prepared for what he saw.

"We have rat problems, insects, it's just terrible. It was just awful, terrible," Watson, a carpenter by trade, told CBS46 reporter Natalie Rubino.

Watson, along with American Legion post 516, found cracked floors, broken plumbing and rats.

"Everywhere. All over the house, rats." Watson said.

Atlas King lives in the home with his wife. He was in the army for four years during the Vietnam War Era.

"I served in the North Artic Command U.S. Army," King said.

"He's had a number of medical problems. He has a colostomy. He's had numerous surgeries. He has diabetes," Eddie Felton with the American Legion Post 516 told CBS46.

King's wife had two heart attacks and a stroke just last month.

In the winter, the couple relied on a space heater to warm their home.

"We just had to tolerate it," King said.

The American Legion heard about the unbearable living conditions in February, and with a $14,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation, they decided to help.

"We're trying. We're working hard. We're working for the next six weeks hoping we can have them in," Watson said.

Watson says the kitchen was by far the worst room of the house. Rodents were coming out of the walls. The Kings were confined to their bedroom up until last week when two rats fell from the ceiling and they had to be moved to a hotel.

"Rain was coming in there. The roof was gone," Watson said.

In the heat of summer Walton and Felton have been selflessly working to fix the home, but they need more help.

"It's only been four of us. Sometimes it's three of us, sometimes it's two," Felton says.

Their hard work has served as a light to the Kings from the dark place the couple was once living in.

"I'm almost loss for words, but we're really grateful and we really appreciate everything they're doing for us," King said.

Walton says it will take triple the $14,000 donation they received from Home Depot to fix the home. The American Legion is asking for volunteers and donations to help finish the refurbishment.

You can donate to the cause by visiting its Go Fund Me page.

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