Contractor bails on soldier's renovation
HIGHLAND (KABC) -- An officer serving in Iraq with the National Guard returns home to find he's homeless and his family has had to live in a motel, the result of a remodel disaster of the family home that drained their life savings.
"It's the heartbreak of my life, only because it was our life savings," said Delma Mendoza.
Life savings at exactly $86,000. Delma Mendoza says she hired a contractor to finish the remodel by the time her husband, Master Sergeant Joe Mendoza, returned from Iraq.
"It was everything we had, and he was supposed to come home and basically find our dream house," said Delma.
Instead, almost a year after the contractor started the remodel, she says they're left with nothing but empty promises, and a home that's hardly a home.
Mendoza says he was under fire frequently in Iraq -- but says in many ways, this situation is even worse.
"I'm just disappointed, I'm really disappointed, I find myself more stressed out now with where we're at, than when I was over there," said Master Sgt. Mendoza.
Highland Mayor Penny Lilburn has stepped in to help find donations for the family. She's also trying to raise awareness.
"We need to go forward and make sure this doesn't happen to other people in other communities," said Mayor Lilburn.
Meantime, for Master Sgt. Mendoza, it's a race against time. He has to report back for duty in two weeks. He's doing all he can to make the place livable. And they also haven't ruled out legal action against the contractor.
"I'll fix it myself if I have to," said Master Sgt. Mendoza. "All I'm trying to do is get my family in."
As for his wife, she says now that he's home, everything's going to be OK.
"For now that he's home everything's right with the world," said Delma. "I trust his decisions and everything, so when he tells me everything's going to be OK, I believe it."
Highland Mayor Penny Lilburn will host a car wash at 7 a.m. Saturday, June 14, to benefit the Mendozas.
Mac's Spring Shop
26746 Baseline Street
Highland, CA 92346
Sat., June 14, 7 a.m. - noon
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