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Operation Code Vet transforms veteran's home with help from other businesses

Posted at 5:41 PM, Nov 05, 2019

BRANDON Fla. --- After the Hillsborough County Code Enforcement teamed up with other local businesses, a Tampa Bay area home is now up to code.

Home Depot and other businesses with Operation Code Vet helped out after the home was originally riddled with violations.

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"This is just so much,” said Edward Fouse, the homeowner.

As he and his wife Helen walked into the house, they were humbled.

"This is amazing,” Fouse said.

Three weeks ago, the house had several code violations. The roof and walls were covered in mold and dirt, and the rooms were filled with stuff from the floor to the ceiling.

Fouse began his career in the U.S. Army at the age of 16. He dropped out of school so he could serve his country.

Years later, Helen was tasked to take care of Fouse when he became ill. At that same time, Helen's brother also fell ill, and she had to take care of both of them.

They admit they couldn’t keep up with the home during that time.

"She’s having to run back and forth taking care of him, taking care of me. I’m just so happy for her to be able to have something like this. It’s just amazing,” Fouse said.

All of this started when a neighbor reported them to the Hillsborough County Code Enforcement.

"Sometimes those are a blessing in disguise. Right?” said Christine McCombs, spokesperson for the Hillsborough County Code Enforcement.

McCombs started a program called Operation Code Vet. The program's purpose is to help veterans and their families recover from hard times.

She said after she gained the Fouse's trust, she called around to local businesses to make their house a home again.

“There were a number of code violations. There was a list of them and every single one of them have been dealt with,” McCombs said.

"I mean, it’s a complete transformation. It’s basically a new home inside,” said Victor Langston, spokesperson for Home Depot.

Fouse and his wife moved back into the home on Tuesday, and they were filled with emotion.

"I’m at a loss for words,” Fouse said.

McCombs admits even though the work to the house is done, the friendship sticks around forever.