Columbia Firefighter Fights for his Childhood Home

6 years 9 months 4 weeks ago Wednesday, November 20 2013 Nov 20, 2013 Wednesday, November 20, 2013 6:47:00 AM CST November 20, 2013 in News
By: Michael Doudna, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Boone County Firefighter Walt Goodman may be losing his childhood home a year and a half after the Joplin Tornado struck. Goodman made a promise to his father, who passed away because of complications of the tornado, that the home would be rebuilt.

Despite, the family paying nearly $90,000 for the house's reconstruction over the past year and a half, a demolition order has been put on the home. Walt said he and his family would be responsible for the cost of the demolition as well.

Goodman knows on a full time firefighter's salary, saving the home at this point would take a miracle.

"I know this is kind of already beyond our means," he said.

Goodman said he never received a dollar of financial aid from the government. After the tornado, his father came down with a respiratory infection, which meant filing paperwork for aid was the last thing on his mind.

"After my father got put in the hospital, it hit me pretty hard," Goodman said.

According to FEMA External Affairs Director Michael Cappannari, FEMA does not provide much in terms of "brick and mortar assistance" for private residences. Missouri has state programs, such as the Disaster Recovery Partnership, which combines volunteer, and community organizations that help out in disasters. Cappannari said the best way to receive assistance is to file for aid with the program which pertains to you.

He also said FEMA provides assistance for rebuilding public facilities, but not private residences and there is not much that can be done a year and a half after the disaster.

"Sometimes people fall through the cracks" Cappannari said.

Goodman said he knows he doesn't make enough money to fix the problem himself.

"I wish I was a banker or a builder, because I wouldn't be in this predicament," Goodman said.

Even if Goodman can't save his childhood home, he said the location will always be special to him.

"Dad traveled all over the world in the Navy and his favorite spot in the world was right here on this porch. So this will place will always have a special meaning for me," he said.

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