Saturday morning a group of veterans and other volunteers met at the home to begin the cleanup process. The quickly picked up debris strewn about the yard and inside the home and placed it in a dumpster that was dropped off on Friday.
Army Specialist Michael Sharkey is stationed on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. That’s where he was when a friend informed him that someone was living inside his home.
He’s overwhelmed at the outpouring of support he’s received from the community after 8 On Your Side told the story.
“You have my utmost gratitude,” Sharkey said. “That’s for everybody that’s done everything.”
Sharkey is a mechanic that works on Chinook helicopters. As much as he wanted to he was unable to fly home when he first heard about the squatters.
“The friend of mine went by the house a couple of times, saw it was vacant and had the yard taken care of,” he recalled. “Then she went by another 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.”
Julio Ortiz and his girlfriend – who both have extensive criminal backgrounds – had moved in. A few days ago they packed up their belongings and left the home for good.