Autryville, N.C. — For Bruce Waldahl, the service provided by the Sampson County Veterans Service Office went beyond assistance with paperwork or answering questions. They saved his Autryville home.
Waldahl, 58, found a foreclosure notice tacked to his front gate Wednesday night, and a truck was outside Thursday morning to cart off the mobile home where he and his wife have lived for 27 years. Deputies even escorted a crew with sledgehammers to knock away the trailer's foundation.
"I didn't know what to do. I'm not a deadbeat," the disabled Army veteran said Friday. "“There’s stuff in here I can’t replace. Just the whole idea of someone ripping my house apart and dragging it down the road, I mean, that’s like having your whole life ripped in half."
Waldahl said he didn't know he was four months and $2,000 behind in his mortgage payments, noting that his wife had been handling the family finances while he was sick.
Cindy Waldahl admitted she dropped the ball as problems with her husband's disability payments snowballed. His veteran's disability was cut because he didn't receive a form required by the Veterans Administration, which led to an interruption in his Social Security disability benefits.
Frantic with worry about their home, the couple called Ann Knowles, director of the Sampson County Veterans Service Office, who has worked with Bruce Waldahl for years. She called the finance company and offered to bring Waldahl up to date on his mortgage.
"I told him, 'I don't know if I'll have a marriage tomorrow because I didn't call the husband to say, 'Don't write any checks. I'm fixing to write a check.'' I just took it on the faith that the Lord – (the money) would be there," Knowles said.
With the bill paid, the truck and the crew left, and the Waldahls were able to stay in their home.
"I don't have the words to express what you did," Bruce Waldahl told Knowles. "That's above and beyond."
Knowles also helped him get his disability benefits in order, and he vowed to pay the $2,000 back to her as soon as possible.
"I am here to serve them because they served us," Knowles said.