San Leon man struggles to recover

September 10, 2009 6:20:55 PM PDT
Hurricane Ike changed the lives of so many people along the Gulf Coast. The past year we've followed the struggle of one San Leon man, who at the age of 69, lost just about everything he has ever worked for.[IKE ANNIVERSARY: Look back at the storm that changed SE Texas]

It's been a year since Arthur Pinero lost his home during Hurricane Ike.

"I'll never have a home again. I know that," said Pinero.

While he admits it was no mansion, it was his castle and it was paid off.

When we first met Pinero last November, the homeowner was living on his property, but in a tent. Obviously life has been a struggle since Ike.

"It totally destroyed it. Completely ruined my future and everything," said Pinero.

The veteran relies on his Social Security check of $741 a month.

"What I've needed, I've gone through everything I've had," said Pinero.

So he turned to the government for help, applying for FEMA aid.

"Non-compliance. I didn't have insurance," said Pinero.

He was denied and denied. And denied some more.

"I think they are sort of telling me to go to Hades," said Pinero.

After eight times, he was told not to apply again.

While FEMA has denied Pinero help many times, he says most of the help he has gotten has been from neighbors, close friends and churches in the community

"Basically it's Texans taking care of Texans," said Pinero.

In the past year, Pinero has gone from tent to a trailer his neighbor bought him, to an even bigger trailer a friend gave him.

"This is going to be a lot better. It has a toilet and shower. It's a big improvement," said Pinero.

He knows his life will ever return to what it was pre-Ike. His truck broke down so he has no transportation for work and his rental property that gave him extra income was also destroyed.

Even after this stormy year, he still has hope.

"I'm a survivor, you don't give up. There might be a silver lining somewhere out there," said Pinero.

That brighter days may still be ahead for him.

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