Iraqi War veteran evicted in Frederick

Veterans and families in need on home front

FREDERICK, Md. - Iraq War veteran Kenya Smith has two master's degrees, two children and whatever she could fit on a U-Haul truck.

"Instead of throwing my stuff on the curb, they were nice enough to put it in the truck," said Smith, "Today was my final eviction notice date, and so the sheriff was here this morning."

She spent almost 15 years in the Navy, but Smith says her life began to spiral downward after a tour of duty in Iraq.

"I was responsible for identifying the dead marines and sailors that came in and airmen," said Smith, "Some of them were coming in maimed... very tore up from IEDs. When you put seven bodies in a bag and you're older than all the people you put in a body bag, it changes your out view on life dramatically."

Smith says she returned home suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and she was honorably discharged later after putting on weight.

Without a job, she also couldn't handle the mortgage payments on her home in Frederick, and she was forced to declare bankruptcy.

With the clock ticking down on her foreclosure and eviction, a veterans help group called Operation Homefront has come through with temporary housing, but it says it's being overwhelmed with requests for help here on the home front.

"In the last two years, we've had requests for food assistance double and those are the people who are out there overseas serving our country, and their families can't put food on the table," said Aaron Taylor, a spokesman for the group.

Kenya Smith says she and her kids would have been living out of her car if the group hadn't stepped in, but in this economy, she also realizes her struggle to rebuild her life is far from over.


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