Army Veteran Randy was hospitalized following an apartment fire in September 2023. Once discharged, Sean Hagerty, Hero’s Bridge Field Battle Buddy, visited him and was told that Randy was being fined $8,000 by apartment management for damage from the fire, claiming the fire started from a box left in Randy’s oven. If he didn’t pay the monthly fees for damages, Randy faced eviction.

Sean asked to see evidence that Randy caused the fire and filed a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) with the Sheriff’s Office for the incident/fire investigation report. A nurse, caring for a neighbor, said she thought the paper was signed while Randy was under duress.

The Sheriff’s Department was unable to release the information Sean requested and suggested that he speak with dispatch, where Sean filled out another FOIA request.

As a result of his dogged determination, Sean received a FOIA request from the County of Culpeper Office of the County Attorney. The memo indicated that no investigation was conducted and that no probable cause was determined. The dispatch report revealed the same information.

Sean continued to visit Randy and observe his rapidly declining health.  The Sheriff’s office suggested that Sean help Randy find a more suitable place to live with more care.

In mid-December, Randy received an eviction notice for failing to pay damage fees and agreed to look into an assisted living facility.

Sean accompanied Randy on an interview to determine the level of care he qualified for in an assisted living facility. Randy’s health was not well during the interview, and he was unable to answer many of the questions. Thankfully, Sean had kept records of conversations with Randy and was able to provide information. The interview was successful, and Randy qualified for sufficient assisted living.

Court was delayed several more times over the months, during which time Randy was able to get on a successful course of medicine that helped to improve his physical state. Sean stayed in contact with Randy throughout this ordeal.

At the end of March, only 30 minutes before having to appear in court, Randy received a call from his lawyer that a request had been made to settle the eviction case out of court. Five minutes before court and only 10 days until the eviction date, Randy accepted the settlement.

Sean continues to visit Randy, who is continuing to look for new housing accommodations, a battle in and of itself due to the affordable housing crisis.