LULING, La. — It's been two and a half months since Hurricane Ida and one nonprofit organization for war veterans is still a mess.
Thursday, the country will pay tribute to veterans. On this Veterans Day, some former and current servicemen and women will help rebuild an American Legion post that was damaged in Ida.
Army veteran John Hymel served in the late '60s during the Vietnam War.
"I got wounded, got a purple heart," he said.
Ever since he's been involved with the American Legion Post 131 in Luling. They work to help, serve, and advocate for veterans. It's a special place to Hymel.
"My daddy used to be in this organization," he said.
His father, a World War Two veteran, also spent many years ensuring their mission was put into practice for veterans in the Luling area. So it's no surprise that's is where Hymel will spend Veterans Day, but not for the reason you may think.
"Tearing down the building. That's about it," Hymel said.
He'll be ripping up parts of the building, as it sustained substantial damage from Hurricane Ida.
"It looked like a war zone through here," he said.
The main hall only has minimal damage; a moldy part of the ceiling that needs to be replaced, but in the kitchen, a tree ripped through the roof.
"All the wood was falling down. Every time it rains it came through, it's still coming through," Hymel said.
The legion is a nonprofit with only liability insurance, so the repairs are out of pocket.
"I'm guessing around 60 or 70 thousand dollars," Hymel said.
Hymel is grateful Hahnville High ROTC and Coast Guard members have helped clean up so far, but there is much left to do. On this Veterans Day, more Coast Guard members are planning to continue clean up and repairs. Hymel said they're welcoming all the help they can get.
"Any volunteers, we’ll take them," he said.
They are hoping for help to rebuild so these former servicemen and women can continue serving fellow veterans.
The Legion opened a donation drive at the First National Bank USA in Boutte to help with repairs. Volunteers plan to arrive for help on Veterans Day at 9 a.m.