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      'Hoarder' home near Palmview unsuitable for vet after leg amputation

      Rafael Rivas is recovering in the hospital from a partial leg amputation due to medical complications.

      His family doesn't think his home will be suitable for living after surgery.

      "He is a hoarder," Raul Rivas said.

      Boxes sit stacked on the floor of the home along Minnesota Road north of Palmview.

      There's junk in virtually every room.

      Cobwebs, filthy conditions and broken appliances are plain to see.

      Rafael's cousin Raul says the home is no place for someone who TMs unable to walk.

      "He needs the place cleaned up so he can move around in his wheelchair," he said.

      Rafael is an Army veteran who served from 1976 to 1983.

      A non-combat related injury is blamed for taking his health on a downward spiral.

      "He had a, I think, a 250 pound bomb fall on his back," Raul explained.

      America's Last Patrol is helping to clean up the home.

      But Commander Ricardo Pena says they can't do it alone.

      "As soon as he gets a wheelchair he's not going to be able to get around," Ricardo said. "We need to get somebody to give us a dumpster so we can throw all this trash out to get rid of all the junk that he doesn TMt need to be here."

      Upgrades are also needed for handicapped accessible rooms.

      "He deserves to live in his own house and where he can be alone like he wants to," Raul said.

      His 53-year-old relative is in the fight of his life.

      Rafael TMs family doesn't want to see him have to struggle in his own home.

      Anyone with access to a dumpster or who would like to help with the clean-up efforts is urged to contact Commander Pena by calling (956) 756-4695.

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