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ARIZONA’S HEART & SOL: Tucson women help clean home of WWII veteran

Updated: Dec. 17, 2020 at 6:31 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - There are probably thousands of things inside Edward Seastrand’s garage. They are piles of memories that have piled up over the years.

Yet he can tell you where everything is, or so he claims to. He’ll also tell you why it has to stay right where it is.

“Well, because I use a lot of it,” said Seastrand.

But that mindset goes beyond his garage. It spans to his entire property that has become a problem.

“The buildings are full—I got a bunch of antique stuff, so much stuff it’s unbelievable,” said Seastrand.

At 94 years old, the World War II veteran cannot tackle it on his own. But neighbors in the area have become fed up with the mess and filed several complaints with the Pima County Environmental Quality department.

The code compliance inspector for Seastrand’s case said he was in violation of one of the county’s storage codes. So, they had issued him a violation a few months back. But knowing Seastrand’s age and capability, the inspector said they were understanding and did not move through the process quickly to give him time.

A few things were cleaned up at first, but it was no where near the progress needed. Until one night, while Seastrand went out to dinner, he found the help he needed.

Errin Mendibles happened to be waiting in line at a Cracker Barrel behind Seastrand to have dinner with her friend, Sara Bauer. When the hostess informed them of the long wait time, Seastrand turned and asked Mendibles if she’d like to join him for dinner. Mendibles, who works at a WWII museum, saw his veteran hat and instantly agreed.

Over dinner, Seastrand informed the two women of what was happening at his home. If the problem was not taken care of, the worst case scenario is his case would have gone to superior court.

“We said, ‘do you need any help?’ and he said just said, ‘follow me home,’” said Bauer.

There’s not much that could prepare Mendibles and Bauer for their first visit to their new friend’s house.

The first thought was, ‘holy crap what have we walked into?’” said Mendibles. “He is a hoarder. He is a hoarder to the bone. And everything is fixable.”

For two months, the two women have come out every weekend to help clean up the property. Others community members have joined in as well.

There is still more work to be done, but it is a huge improvement.

The code compliance inspector said he is very pleased with the progress and if it continues, they’ll be happy to close the case.

So where there was once no relation between the three people, a shared meal created a new family.

And family doesn’t give up easily on one another. So, they’ll be at his house each weekend until they’re down to the last pile. What they’ll have left is a bond that will last a lifetime.

“Edward is in my life now,” said Mendibles. “He’s part of the family now.”

Heart and Sol is sponsored by Casino del Sol who donated to Errin and Sara to help continue their cause.

If you know someone that has made a positive impact in our community you can nominate them by going to https://www.kold.com/heart-sol/

Edwards GoFundMe can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/f/ehajy-team-edward

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.