Navy veteran, frontline nurse get help after Hurricane Ida destroyed their home

FORT LEE, New Jersey (WABC) -- A Navy veteran and his wife, a nurse who risked her life during the pandemic, has devoted their lives to helping others, but they needed a hand after Hurricane Ida devastated their home last year.

Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side spent months helping the selfless family get back on their feet.

The gaping hole Hurricane Ida ripped through the home's foundation has been repaired block by block.

What was ruined by mud has been replaced and restored.

"Home is home no matter what state it was in, the minute they turned the gas and heat on we were there," U.S. Navy veteran Chris King said.

King is the Navy veteran who sent an S.O.S. to Eyewitness News last October when they were underwater.

He and his wife Pearl King are both "frontliners," nurses who worked through the COVID crisis with two kids while others stayed home.

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Their home in Bogota was condemned in the aftermath of Ida. They were homeless.

''It's heart wrenching, and it's devastating, I can't tell you -- having my kids displaced, myself displaced, not knowing where you are going to sleep past next week," Chris King said.

First, 7 On Your Side contacted FEMA, and within 48 hours, the pending status for rental assistance was funded.

Next, 7 On Your Side pushed USAA to cut a check for their flooded cars, then asked Jack Daniels Volkswagen (VW) for help.

"I'm going to give them a loaner car today, so they have a replacement so they're not spending money on a rental car," said Don Chittum, sales manager at Jack Daniels VW.

They put Pearl King in a car so the visiting nurse could get to her patients.

Once their temporary housing ended, 7 On Your Side reached out to Bergen County United Way's Compassion Fund which put the family up in a hotel.

After their hotel stay ended, the United Way offered a beautiful, renovated home in Fort Lee with five bedrooms, for free.

By this time, the Kings had drained their life savings trying to fix their house.

Luckily, a local non-profit, Homes for Veterans, saw the Navy veteran's plight on Eyewitness News and contacted 7 On Your Side to donate labor and materials for construction and repairs.

"What our mission is to help veterans who fall through the cracks and this was a story where they were working tirelessly to reach out to all of these organizations, and we were extremely compelled to act quickly," Homes for Veterans CEO Francesca DiPaola said. "We're extremely compelled to act quickly."

The charity's CEO and board chair's own father died from COVID.

Homes for Veterans donated $61,740.


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