HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A bittersweet moment for Tamara and William Rettie as construction begins on their new home. 

What You Need To Know

  • Hurricane Ian destroyed Tamara and William Rettie’s home

  • Operation Code Vet assists veterans improve the conditions of their homes, typically assisting with code violations

  • This is the first home Operation Code Vet will build

It’s a new beginning for the couple after their house was destroyed, but it’s also a reminder of Hurricane Ian.

“It ripped the roof right off,” William said.  

During the storm, a tree fell on their home. 

“The trailer had been here for 50 years and never been bothered by any storm,” Tamara said.  

With a majority of their home damaged and nowhere to go, the Rettie’s were forced to live on their back porch. 

“Around the edge of the awning, put up tent walls,” William said.  

“We lived there from September ‘til March of last year,” Tamara said.  

It would take a call about a code violation from neighbors for something to get done. 

Operation Code Vet assists veterans improve the conditions of their homes.

President and founder Christine Zien-McCombs said after finding out how the Rettie’s were living, they stepped in. 

“This is our first home, a new home built that Operation Code Vet is starting, which we hope to do one home at least a year for a veteran,” she said. 

Tamara served as a member of the National Guard and William as a Marine. 

Zien-McCombs said their organization is dedicated to helping those who protected our country. 

The hope is construction will be finished by June.

The Rettie’s currently live in temporary housing thanks to assistance from Operation Code Vet.