Purple Heart veteran loses second home in house fire - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Purple Heart veteran loses second home in house fire

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A veteran and purple heart recipient lost his home in a house fire, now the community is coming together to help.

Seventy-eight-year-old John Boineau is no stranger to fighting battles. He says, "In Vietnam, I was a flight mechanic slash gunner. We kept the guns loaded for the pilots. We had three guns and each one would fire 6 thousand rounds a minute 1500 rounds per gun." Mr. Boineau was awarded 11 medals, including the Purple Heart.  Boineau says, "I got shrapnel in my eye."

When Mr. Boineau, born and raised in Adams Run returned home, after service to his country, he and his wife settled in his childhood home, but lost it all in a fire.  He lost his wife in 2007, and a few weeks ago, disaster struck again, another fire.  Boineau says, "I lost the first in 87, put the mobile home to replace it, and lost that too. I went out in the front yard and looked and it was coming out this side. I went in and got my car keys and come back around outside to get the car out, and I run into a wall of black, turned around and got out somehow. I think I was about that close to not making it out." Boineau received a burn on his head, and his home is destroyed, but he still has his medals. "Oh that was one of the first things I went for when I went in the house, to see how they did," Boineau says.

Insurance will cover the remaining balance of his mobile home, but there is no money left to rebuild. Boineau says, "I'm too old for all this starting over stuff. I really am. You get tired. I don't know what to do. I just really don't know what to do. Family and friends will pick me up, and keep me going. I got good family around me and I have good friends so they keep me going."

Mr. Boineau can't hear very well, and has lost his sense of smell, but still has his sense of humor. "My back is deteriorating. Well my doctor says if it wasn't old age and arthritis, I would be in good condition, but there's not a damn thing he could do for either one."

Now the community is rallying to help.  Saturday they will help clean off his property. Pies Pizza of Ravenel will donate pizzas for lunch.  Boineau says, "Thank you. What can you say?  Thank you thank you and God bless."

The cause of the fire is undetermined. Mr. Boineau is staying in a temporary home on his brother's property for right now. Even though he is dealing with this major problem, he still finds time to deliver food for meals on wheels in the community every Tuesday.

If you would like to help Mr. Boineau rebuild, there is a fund set up at the Bank of Walterboro under the John Boineau Burn Fund.

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