KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For years, veterans who served during the Vietnam era felt like outcasts in their own nation.
FOX 4 News is honoring this generation during Veterans Day week, as our community helped one veteran feel welcomed in his own home.
“People really didn`t give me my due,” said Henry Kidd.
Kidd didn’t want to be a soldier. But when he got drafted at 23 years old, he answered the call and served.
“I had to learn how to shoot a gun and all the basics,” he explained. “I went through basic training. That was something new to me.”
Similar to many soldiers, Kidd got married and quickly settled down after doing his duty. He bought a stately home nearly 34th and the Paseo, where he’s lived for 48 years. But as time passed it became more difficult for him to keep his house.
“Problems started happening,” Kidd said. “Money got short. I started having problems with the plumbing. The weather and roofing and stuff like that.”
Neighbors complained and inspectors cited Kidd for rotting eaves and other building code violations that continued to multiply. Desperate, the 74-year-old man reached out to the United Way and Salvation Army, which have special services for vets.
“Especially for our Vietnam veterans, who were looked over when they came back, society has changed,” explained Vincent Morales of the Salvation Army. “We realize what we have done to those veterans and we’re taking care of them now.”
Without the help of veterans he didn’t even know, Kidd says the city probably would have condemned his longtime home, forcing him out in the streets.
“I was pretty close but I never let nothing get me down,” Kidd said.
The Home Depot provided $2,500 in materials to replace the home’s soffits and a local roofing donated the labor to make repairs this house needed.
“It was a thrill,” Kidd said. “It was a thrill. I loved them.”
Those who rallied to Kidd’s aid say they couldn’t stand by and watch a fellow veteran lose his home simply because of age and disabilities.
Kidd’s wife passed away about 10-years ago. His disabilities include alcoholism and he attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a week. Kidd claims he’s not drinking or smoking anymore.