POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A World War II veteran is trying to figure out what's next after having his condo destroyed by a tornado.
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Al Weddle, 92, said it's a lot for him to deal with. He is grateful his grandson and his wife came to assist him through the hardship.
"I'm hanging on, that's the important thing," said Al Weddle.
His wife, Ellen Marie Weddle, who is 90 years old, was still in the hospital as of Friday morning.
"She had a head injury two days before that where she had fallen backwards on her head, and then yesterday, during the storm rather, something fell on her head and she got re-injured,” Al Weddle said.
The couple has been married for 71 years.
In the meantime, he is staying in a neighbor's empty condo until December 30, while he figures out what to do next. Insurance adjusters are supposed to come out next week.
Weddle said he was in the process of selling his condo and moving into an assisted living facility. He accepted a down payment for it from George Darr the day before the tornado hit.
Darr said his brother lives in the community and he was visiting when he saw the condo for sale. Within two hours, he offered to buy it from Weddle. Then the tornado hit.
"I'm sure there's insurance involved and I'm sure it will be rebuilt in some fashion. It will be as equal or better than it is now. I have no worries. It’s a good community and good people,” said Darr.
Darr said he still wants to buy the place for he and his girlfriend, Marcia Shepherd, because his father used to live in the unit next door until he passed in 2010.
They planned to be snowbirds. For now he said they'll go back to their home in Ohio and wait for the place to be rebuilt.
In the meantime, the elderly couple is looking for a permanent place to stay. Weddle said the best-case scenario would be for he and his wife to move into assisted living.
Weddle said he applied for benefits through Veterans Affairs. He said he could use the financial assistance.
The Assistant Director of the St. Petersburg Regional Office for the Veterans Benefits Administration said they are looking into Weddle’s case and checking to see if they can expedite the process.