Veteran Kim Joseph Kurosky has been a faithful customer to Billie Jo Sebastian for more than 10 years. He visits her weekly while she works at the Value Pawn & Jewelry in Brandon. During one of Kim’s visits, Sebastian noticed his legs were extremely swollen.
“He and I had stepped outside and I said to him, ‘You need to elevate your legs, Kim.’ He responded, ‘Billie Jo, can you please let me know how I’m supposed to elevate my legs when I’m sleeping in my truck and trying to swat off mosquitoes?’ Up until that point, I never realized the severity of his living situation,” Sebastian said.
Sebastian asked Kim if he would be comfortable with sharing his story on social media to try and get him some help.
“I could not believe how many people wanted to donate food and help him,” Sebastian said.
Kim is a Marine sergeant who did two tours of duty in Vietnam. He suffers from a hoarding condition and diabetes. Because of his hoarding illness, his trailer became unlivable and his property is overrun with items. His trailer is 40 years old and has electricity, but no running water. Kim sleeps in his truck each night, which has caused his legs to swell to a dangerous size.
Ashley Harden, a bartender at Keith’s Oaks Bar and Grill, saw Sebastian’s post on Facebook and immediately wanted to help. She decided to create a GoFundMe page to help him.
“So far, we’ve raised almost $3,000 to make his trailer and the other structure on his property livable for him,” Harden said. “The outpouring from the community has been absolutely amazing.”
Harden and Sebastian also received help from Jim Stacey at AMVETS Post 44, Travis Wright of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and Nam Knights, Ellie Saldana of Hot Boxes Dumpster, Jarrod Matthews of Wretched Few VMC and Lori Finnegan of Finnegan Real Estate, in addition to the numerous people who have donated funds on Kim’s GoFundMe page. Nearly 40 people from the Brandon community have helped to clean and organize the property.
“I am amazed at all the help that has been available to me,” Kim said. “I couldn’t imagine there were so many people who wanted to come out and help, especially with the virus happening now.”
To help Kim, please visit his GoFundMe page at https://bit.ly/2UfImLN.