Kept Fighting and Won

(WSVN) - A year ago, they were on Help Me Howard fighting to get a screened in porch so a wheelchair bound veteran could be outdoors. What happened in that year is a very special Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

It’s a porch, but it’s much much more than just a porch.

Lois Sepulveda: “I am just so pleased that he finally got what he needed.”

Let’s back up. A year ago, we met Lois and Ruben who served his country in the U.S. Navy.

Ruben Sepulveda: “I loved it. I loved it.”

After he left the service, Ruben developed multiple sclerosis, was wheelchair bound and had to stay inside.

Lois Sepulveda: “Heat does terrible things to people with multiple sclerosis. It can make him so sick so quickly. He can’t get bitten by any bugs or mosquitoes or his immune system is compromised.”

Each day, Ruben would sit at a window, looking at the fountain and lake behind their house.

Then the Veteran’s Association agreed to give him an $18,000 grant to build a screened in porch so that he could sit outside.

Lois Sepulveda: “Thank God for the VA.”

But the Hibbs Grove Homeowners Board said no. Porches were not allowed in the neighborhood.

Lois Sepulveda: “He said it’s not aesthetically pleasing.”

That’s when Lois contacted Help Me Howard. We couldn’t get the board to change their minds. Our story aired, but we all refused to give up and kept fighting.

Lois Sepulveda: “It was very upsetting and frustrating, and you kept telling me not to give up.”

After rejecting their request to build the porch two more times, Lois and Ruben finally got the board’s approval.

Ruben Sepulveda: “I think they just got tired and said, ‘forget it, let ’em have it.'”

The construction began. The porch was finished, and Ruben can be outside.

Lois Sepulveda: “He comes out every morning with his service dog and he sits on the lounge chair. I give him a cup of coffee.”

The insulated porch will keep it cool enough for Ruben even in the summertime, so he can watch the birds and hear the soothing fountain, and the screen keeps him safe from insects.

Ruben Sepulveda: “That’s the big one — no mosquitoes.”

Ruben is happy now. Lois is delighted. They fought the board. They won.

Lois Sepulveda: “I really want to let you know the gratitude we have for all of you. Patrick, if it wasn’t for you guiding us and telling us how to fight back, we really want you to know how much it means to us that you cared so much for veterans.”

Ruben Sepulveda: “Yeah, that means something to me.”

You can thank us Ruben, but look to your right to see the woman who refused to stop fighting for you.

Ruben Sepulveda: “She is one tough cookie.”

Their faces tell you the long battle to get the porch was worth it.

Lois Sepulveda: “We have the birds and the trees and the fountain. I mean, it changed his life.”

Ruben Sepulveda: “This is my little slice of heaven. You know how everyone has their little place in their house, this here, this is my little slice of heaven. Well, besides her.”

It took a year, but seeing Ruben sitting on his porch smiling made it all worth it. And its a reminder that if you are right, never give up fighting to get what you want, and don’t worry, we will be right there with you.

Screened in trying to solve a problem? Feeling insulated from finding a way out? Open the door for us, and let us construct a solution for you.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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