MUSKOGEE, Okla. - A Muskogee man is trying to get things back on track after vandals hindered his plan to help our nation's heroes.
“We’re trying to do something good and here’s something bad that’s in front of you," said "The Barracks" Founder Victor Lezama.
Lezama is a retired veteran who had a big plan, to give other veterans trying to turn their lives around a place to live and grow.
“One side was going to be a recreation area, which was going to have a TV, libraries, board games, and the other half was going to be a learning center."
His idea turned into an organization called The Barracks.
The idea became a reality when a friend stepped in.
“I purchased the project and then started working with Victor to make it come to pass," said "The Barracks" Coordinator Alex Reynolds.
He brought Victor a recently vacant nursing home.
Hallways full of rooms, plumbing, electric all ready to go, until Alex came to check on the building one day.
“We came here in April and took a look at it, come to find it was vandalized.”
Smashed toilets, crumbled floor tiles, electric wires ripped from the walls.
The vandals welcomed themselves in the front door and either took or destroyed anything and everything.
“As many lives as we can help, they’ve touched that many lives in a negative way.”
The building no longer just a fixer-upper.
"Those 10 minutes they used to destroy stuff, it's going to take us longer than that to repair it."
But they're determined.
“The good thing about having a military background is that we will fight through anything that gets in our way. That’s who we are, that’s what we’ve always done.”
Refusing to let the actions of some destroy the futures of so many others.
“We’ll overcome and we’ll keep going, I just hope those people get the help they need where they can come out of the system and hopefully be part of the solution and not the problem.”
Lezama said they'll repair the building in stages, starting with a first clean-up at the end of the month and a fundraiser this Fall, hoping to have it up and running by the end of the year.
Find information on the fundraisers and organization here.
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