TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa Bay organization is giving back to those who served our country.
Operation Code Vet is working to get veteran’s homes back into shape to avoid facing code violation fines.
86-year-old Arnold Mathews’ Tampa home had several code violations. Instead of fining him, the organization came out to help him with the maintenance.
“I’ve seen my roof for the first time in years laughs,” Mathews said.
Mathews knew his home needed some help. He told 8 On Your Side he has reached an age where he can barely bend over and pick something up.
“The last time I was trying to trim my trees, I pulled the tree trimmer, and it caught, and I did a head dive boom,” he said. “That’s when I decided I couldn’t do this no more.”
He was in violation of accumulations, overgrowth and protective treatment. It’s something he couldn’t take care of himself and that’s where operation code vet stepped in.
“We saw a resounding issue with a lot of veterans and Hillsborough County being cited for code violations,” said Christine Zion-Mccombs, the county’s community outreach officer. “Most of the time the issues with those code violations were they were either in a hardship situation and they couldn’t cure themselves.”
She said that’s the case at Mathews’ home. Since he’s a veteran, who served in the U.S. Air Force for 26 years as a Senior Master Sergeant, he qualified for the free help.
“We strive to help the veterans here in Hillsborough County who have code violations,” Zion-Mccombs said “We get their citations put into a pending status, and we find volunteers and other organizations and vendors any services we can to help get the property back up to sustainability.”
Paint Your Heart Out Tampa assisted at Mathews’ home.
Since launching the organization five years ago, Operation Code Vet has helped more than 100 vets in the Tampa Bay area.
‘It’s nice to know that somebody appreciates the times that we put in serving our country,” Mathews said.
The organization then presented him with an American flag. Operation Code Vet relies on financial donations to serve the community’s veterans.