Vietnam veteran Neroy Alford's home has turned into a virtual junkyard after his roof suddenly collapsed two months ago.
But one group of Miami Police officers are looking to change that after they learned the 65-year-old has been sleeping in a nearby shed ever since.
The officers are rebuilding the residence on the 800 block of Northwest 69th Street from the ground up. They began their efforts Saturday.
"It broke our hearts," Sgt. Leandro Abad said. "To see somebody who's willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms and serve our country, to see how the house is deteriorated and the conditions that he was living in just wasn't acceptable to us and we definitely want to make a difference for him."
A couple of officers were moved to help they found out Alford was a former Marine.
"Marines are for life," said Officer Jose Prado, who is also a former Marine. "Even though he served a while ago, we had that connection."
The bond is fueling this group of volunteers to lend their muscle, and give their hearts to the project.
"I feel good, this is what I joined for, this is what we do," said another former Marine, Officer James Fraser.
The group spent Saturday hauling away massive amounts of debris and cleaning up Alford's lot.
Although Alford wanted to help, the officers say it's their turn to do their duty.
"He already did his service, and now it's our turn to step up and help him out," Fraser said.
The officers say their job isn't always about catching the bad guys.
"[It's] not all about making arrests, sometimes a good contact with the community builds relationship," Fraser said. "It sparks a little bit of that fire in us to do more."
They're hoping their dedication to the project will spark a fire in volunteers as well.
"Any help that they can offer us any assistance any contractors, homemakers... we need your help," Abad said.
Officers will return in a couple of weeks for more cleanup and to help the owner in obtaining demolition permits from the city.
More Local Stories: