Tangipahoa man loses wheelchair in flood

Man turns to community for help after floods take his mobility

TANGIPAHOA PARISH, LA (WVUE) - A Tangipahoa man fighting serious health issues is having a tough time recovering from last fall's floods.

The floodwaters ruined Perry Bridges' main source of mobility, and his family is asking for help.

In the piney woods just south of Kentwood, it was an October deluge with a vengeance.

"I went to the door, at 12 o'clock, and by two o'clock water was all over," said Bridges' mother, Willie Mae Lee.

About a dozen homes were flooded in the storm, including Bridges'.

"It just rained all night, and when we opened the door, it come in so fast," Bridges said.

When the waters receded, Perry found his belongings saturated and his only means of mobility - his wheelchair - broken.

"When the flood came, it got a foot and a half of water over the motors and shorted it out," Bridges said.

Bridges' mother lives right next door.

"Were you worried about him?" we asked. "Yes I was," she said. "I called everyone I knew, and they sent a National Guard truck out to get him.

Without his mechanical wheelchair, Lee worries about her eldest son's health. The 530-pound, 56-year-old former cement worker needs a chair to get to the doctor. He needs care for tumors and diabetes.

"I'm worried about them. He's had those tumors since Katrina," Lee said.

She said they've called Medicare several times and have been repeatedly told it's not their time yet.

"They won't give you one until it's five years," said Bridges.

With 10 children and dozens of grandchildren, Lee said her son holds a special place in the heart of a mother who simply wants help.

"If I could get those things cut off and get him a chair, I'd be happy," Lee said.

She will continue to appeal to Medicare for the chair her son needs for his health and to simply go outside.

Bridges had one of his tumors treated, not in Louisiana but in Beaumont, Texas, where the family relocated after Katrina. He said he considered lap band weight-reduction surgery, but the doctors told him he's not a good candidate.

Copyright 2016 WVUE. All rights reserved.