FARMDALE - World War II veteran Gerald James Lloyd Sr.'s property was covered in tires, trash, trees, fallen limbs, vines and and old broken wood planks.
Lloyd, 85, who has diabetes and has been growing weaker over the last several years, has been finding it increasingly more challenging to take care of the property on his own.
"It is getting more difficult for me to get around," Lloyd said last week while sitting on a plastic blue and white water cooler at the front door of his mobile home, 5697 Stoddard Hayes Road. A metal walker sat behind him, just inside the door.
Tribune Chronicle / Raymond L. Smith
Gerald James Lloyd Sr., 85, a World War II veteran, sits outside his home in Farmdale.
Linda Lloyd, his wife, said, "He has a wheelchair, but it is too small for him. He needs a new one."
Recently, a group of veterans, along with members of Rock of Grace Church, 6745 state Route 5, committed to help the family.
The veterans are helping to raise funds to provide Lloyd a new mobile home and to repair the property's septic system. On Saturday, a group from Rock of Grace worked on the property. BFI donated a Dumpster for the cleanup.
"Our mission is to reach out to help those who are hurting," Pastor Mark Biel said. "When we learned about his home our jaws dropped at the level of need. We felt so much compassion.
"If a new trailer is put in, depending on the need, we may be able to put one a ramp so he can easily get in and out," Biel said. "It will be at no cost to him."
Wayne Westover, a director with the Trumbull County Veterans Service Commission, said when a group of veterans learned about what was happening with the Lloyd family, they talked among themselves about what to do.
"We will do what we can based on how much we can raise for the project," Westover said. "If we can get a new or used trailer to place, we will. If we can only raise enough to renovate, we will do the best we can with limited resources.''
Westover said they will welcome any financial or material assistance they can receive.
"Although this is not a Veterans Service Commission project, I can be reached through my office," Westover said.
The two-bedroom mobile home has a living room, dining room and bathroom. The mobile home's floor is rotten, with holes covered with aluminum. A tree limb that fell onto its roof left a hole in the ceiling that leaks during storms.
Its heating system stopped working about seven years ago, so the family depends on kerosene heaters to stay warm during the fall and winter months.
"We have a newer septic system, but it has never worked," Lloyd said. "It was hit by lightning on three separate occasions. I think it was placed in wrong."
Linda Lloyd does what she can to help her husband and their 22-year-old daughter, Audrey, around the yard and house, but she also has various physical ailments that limit her mobility.
"I can't even rake like I used to be able," she says with a shrug.
The family lives on Lloyd's pension from Copperweld Steel, from which he retired after 27 years.
All of Lloyd's adult children from his first marriage are living out of state and cannot provide help.
Lloyd served in the U.S. Army during World War II from 1945 to 1946. He was in Panama, where he worked guarding an ammunition depot.
When he returned home, Lloyd worked at Republic Steel for several years. He left there to learn how to become an auto mechanic.
"That was a bad idea," Lloyd said. "I trained to be a mechanic, but did not really get a chance to work as one."
After leaving the mechanic school, Lloyd worked in a variety of jobs ranging from tree cutting to farming to being a guard to building homes. He worked at the Ravenna Arsenal, making 105 mm shells for nearly two years.
"I did whatever I needed to do to support my family," Lloyd said, pride filling his voice.
After years of working a variety of jobs, being laid off and having to find new temporary jobs, Lloyd obtained a job at Copperweld and stayed for 27 years.
Linda Lloyd said the family has been taken aback by the support and giving of people in the community.
"This is not anything that any of us expected," she said. "It is beautiful that people care."