FLAGSTAFF, AZ — A Vietnam veteran who lost his Army medals in a wildfire in Flagstaff nearly two months ago was honored with new medals and a uniform for his service.
ABC15 shared the story of David Bartham shortly after losing his home from the Tunnel Fire in April, and dozens named to honor him in Flagstaff this week.
Bartham was pinned with new medals, and was given a welcome home celebration that he never received after serving in Vietnam.
The American Legion escorted Bartham to the homecoming, along with motorcycle riders with the American Legion and the Patriot Guard.
The 74-year-old veteran was able to have the fire debris removed with money raised from an online fundraiser created for him.
Bartham did not have home owner’s insurance at the time because he chose to use the payments to afford a wood stove to heat the larger home.
He’s not alone in the recovery, down the road the Leazier family just received electricity last week, and were able to hook up cable for the first time this week.
The family home was destroyed in a matter of minutes from the wind driven fire, leaving Jessie Leazier, her father, aunt and son without a home. An online fundraiser helped them purchase a RV, but they know they need something to protect them this winter.
Leazier said the family has insurance, but so far, it has been a struggle to try and detail every item they owned for their claim.
“That’s been a long process,” she said.
Leazier said she lost her mother just a few months before the fire, making it hard to lose memories from the home she grew up in.
In the online fundraiser, her sister wrote, “My dad is someone who's helped others and never expected anything back and now he's lost the home him and my mom built.”
The family was spared from the Shultz Pass fire, but were not able to save their home from the Tunnel fire, “Please help me help my dad who now has to rebuild his life,” Trisha Leazier wrote.