Four weeks later, Letcher County man still seeking help fixing destroyed home


CROMONA, Ky. (WYMT) Richard Combs has spent the past four weeks cleaning up his property in the Cromona Community of Letcher County.

The former coal miner is 69 and struggling to complete the hefty task.

“I can only do so much physically with my hands, I’m trying to salvage what I can but there’s only so much, I don’t know what I’m going to do, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Combs resting against a pick-up.

Combs has lived on his Cromona property since the late 70′s and says he hadn’t seen flooding like what came past his property four weeks ago.

Combs and his ex-wife get along well, so much so that she has lived in the house adjacent to his for several years.

Her home took the brunt of the damage from the July floods.

It’s knocked off its foundation, floors buckled, and the chimney is caving in.

“I don’t know what we’re going to do but we need help, I know that,” said Combs.

That help hasn’t come.

Combs’ ex-wife was denied her FEMA application, they said she didn’t own the home and couldn’t claim it.

She is appealing.

Meanwhile, Combs has visited FEMA officials nine times seeking assistance from the agency, but those visits have, so far, come up empty-handed.

“My claim is supposed to be processing but every day it’s another thing, it’s another form, and I don’t know why it’s taking so long,” said Combs.

The FEMA assistance is the only help he would probably get.

Combs is on disability, alongside his ex-wife.

The duo has a limited income, this forced Combs to choose auto insurance over home insurance, at the risk of being in the red every month.

“I live on disabled social security, and it don’t go far and that’s the situation I’m in and I’m just asking for help from somewhere, I don’t know who,” said Combs.

He is now just asking anyone to listen. He is also asking anyone able for help.

“I wish Governor Beshear would come here, I wish Joe Biden would come here and just walk with me for a minute,” said Combs. “Maybe it would light a fire, and someone would come help us.”



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