New Port Richey soldier grateful for help at home with squatters - WFLA News Channel 8

New Port Richey soldier grateful for help at home with squatters

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NEW PORT RICHEY, FL (WFLA) - From Wheeler Army Airfield on the island Oahu in Hawaii, Army Specialist Michael Sharkey wants everybody to know how much he appreciates the help offered, after squatters moved into his New Port Richey home. “You have my utmost gratitude from everybody that's done everything,” said Sharkey.

With his job as a mechanic, working on Chinook helicopters for the US military, he can't just fly back and tend to the home he left behind, while deployed.

“The friend of mine went by the house a couple of times, saw it was vacant, had the yard taken care of, and then she went by one time and said, there's people living in your house, did you rent it? And I said, no. The house is supposed to be empty. There's no power, the house is supposed to be empty,” said Sharkey.

It certainly was not empty. Julio Ortiz and his girlfriend, both with lengthy criminal records, made themselves at home.
Related story: New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

 But after 8 On Your Side got involved, Ortiz and his entourage put on quite a show as they packed and stuffed items into a minivan and car.

Related story: Squatters move out of New Port Richey's soldier's home
“I was in shock that someone could do this. Just literally break into my house and live there,” said Sharkey.

Now comes the daunting task of making the place livable again. "We don't have anybody for windows. We don't have a plumber yet. We need a plumber to come in and check to see if everything is copasetic,” said Joe Faietta.

A group called "Veteran Warriors" is fronting the effort to get the Sharkey home clean and ready, but they need help.

If you're good at flooring, roofing, cabinets or pool work, they'd like to hear from you.
Related story: How to help New Port Richey soldier after squatters damage home

 Windows are busted out too and the yard is strewn with trash. “I'm excited to get this place done for the Sharkeys. He's one of my brothers. I served too" Said Faietta.

The hard part is over. “They got word of what was happening, packed up in the middle of the night and beat feet,” said Sharkey.

After a short stint in Savannah Georgia, the Sharkeys plan to return here in June.

With enough volunteers, getting this place ship shape shouldn't be a problem.

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