Veteran Loses Home at Sea in Devastating Winter Storm

by Michael Freeman
(Photo by Dmitry FeoktistovTASS via Getty Images)

Virginia recently experienced a devastating winter storm which stranded many motorists on the road and unfortunately did worse to others. One such victim is a veteran living on a sailboat. The storm took its toll on his home and it sank Monday night.

Richard Brown lived on a boat anchored in Willoughby Harbor the last few months before the winter storm sank his home. The storm’s winds dragged the boat’s anchors which made it slam into Naval Station Norfolk and sink, WAVY reported. As of now, Brown is staying at the Day’s Inn thanks to his friends spotting him the money, but they all need help.

Brown served in the U.S. Army and took up sailing after quitting his job in Pittsburgh two years ago. A lightning strike to his boat there prompted him to drop anchor in Willoughby Harbor. He remained there through the summer and until now. After the boat rammed into the Navy base cement wall, Brown salvaged what he could from the boat. This included one of his cats, Gizmo, though the other, Snickers, Sadly remains unaccounted for.

Before the storm hit, Brown said he planned to sail to Hatteras and then to the Caribbean. While there, he wanted to give dozens of games and books to children in need. Karen Roberts is Brown’s friend and a fellow sailor who helped salvage what they could from the boat to sell for clothes and food. Roberts also started a GoFundMe to help raise funds for Brown.

Nonetheless, Browns is trying to keep a positive outlook. “I’m still trying to put it all together. What I should be doing, what I need to do, what’s going to happen. I just don’t know.”

To Raise PTSD Awareness, Four Veterans Row 3,000 Miles

Though the sea can be harsh like in the sad case of Richard Brown, fellow veterans are using it as a source of empowerment. To raise PTSD awareness, four veterans vowed to row 3,000 miles.

The team calls itself the “Foar From Home” and includes veterans from all four branches of the military. Billy Cimino hails from the Army, Cameron Hansen from the Air Force, Paul Lore from the Marine Corps, and A.M. Huppman from the Navy to comprise the squad. The team intends to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic and left from La Gomera, Spain on December 12. Heading for Antigua, they have since rowed for more than three weeks already.

Two of the men’s wives, Starla Hansen and Lulu Huppman, spoke to News 4 about how the endeavor came to be. “One day, we were all out and the boys just decided, ‘hey, we can do that,’ Huppmann bluntly stated.

Smashing their initial goal of $500,000, the team has now accrued a whopping $727,000 as of now. Those interested in contributing to the cause can do so from their official website.