WEST (CBS 11 NEWS) – Dan Pokluda said he never thought he would be building houses again, especially at the age of 76 – two years after he retired. However, he never imagined more than 50 homes in his hometown of West, Texas would be destroyed in a fertilizer plant explosion in April.
Several of the homes destroyed by the explosion, Pokluda built over the years. The retired homebuilder said it wasn’t the buildings that motivated him. It was his neighbors.
“These people here need a builder and I stepped up,” he said.
In May, his friend and fellow Navy veteran, 84-year-old Ross Bohannan, watched his home of 58-years bulldozed. Pokluda said it was hard to watch.
“It hurts you,” he explained. “You not only feel pain for the people, you feel it.”
Along with the Bohannan’s home, Pokluda has committed to building two more homes in West for retired veterans who lost theirs in the explosion.
Pokluda said as a fellow veteran he felt obligated to help.
“When your country calls you, you answer the call,” said the Navy veteran.
Bohannan and his wife, Syble, have been living in a trailer ever since the explosion.
Syble Bohannan said she can’t wait to move into her new home but she’s worried about Pokluda.
”I just hope that Dan (Pokluda) doesn’t do too much,” she said.
Pokluda recently came down with a case of the shingles. He said doctors told him it was a result of stress.
Pokluda said he doesn’t plan to take any days off.
He said, “When you are called on, you serve.”
The Bohannan’s new home is slated to be complete by September.
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