Leesville nonprofit experiences extensive sewage damage

LEESVILLE, La. (KALB) - Fighting for freedom comes with a price, something veterans know firsthand.

"I have mobility issues, some PTSD and a traumatic brain injury," said Army Veteran Dennis Smith.

And, that's where the Brothers and Sisters in Arms come in.

"It was all nonprofit, strictly to help us veterans, first responders and dependents," Smith said. "Training us to train our service animals, it's been fantastic."

The free service is life changing.

"It helps immensely, you do not realize what people go through if they don't have something that will take the pressure off of them," said Army Veteran Samantha Scott.

But, Scott was shocked to hear the organization experienced extensive damage from sewage over the weekend.

"I was devastated, if I could have rebuilt the whole thing I would've just for the amount of help they have given me," Scott said.

They lost all electronics and the floors and parts of the walls are being gutted.

"It was just covered, the blue carpet was then brown," said Brothers and Sisters in Arms Trainer Amara Heaton.

Heaton said it was caused by the city fixing water main breaks.

"Whenever they got the mains fixed and it came back on, it back pressured into our building," Heaton said. "We found out yesterday that we aren't the only ones that happened to."

However, the city blames their septic system, but said they will continue to work with the organization.

"If they had something running in their house and it went down their drain, their line had to be stopped up for it to come back out," said Leesville Director of Public Works Ricky West. "Because, our mains were not stopped up, it did not come out at the man hole which was below the house."

Money aside, Organization Vice President Rick Bulcak said they are still focused on training.

"Luckily, all my people that are volunteers are extremely dedicated," Bulcak said. "This isn't going to deter us from what we do."

Training that not only saved Smith, but his rescue dog Glory too.

"It helps the animals that could go to a kill shelter, but instead they are getting a home," Smith said.

Who he now couldn't imagine his life without.

"We are getting a pal that is not only going to be there for us everyday, but help us with our issues," Smith said.

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