Wounded Veteran’s Home Still Unlivable Since 2015 Floods


Columbia, SC (WOLO)– Since the historic flooding of 2015, a now-retired wounded Army veteran is having to fight a different type of battle, one he never expected.


“Being a wounded warrior, with TBI, essential tremor, and PTSD, it’s very emotionally draining because I can’t, no matter what my wife and I do, we just cannot find resolution, and it’s been two years. And we want to move on but we can’t,” Maj. Miguel Santana said.    


Santana served his country for 26 years. He did a tour in Afghanistan, and two tours in Iraq. When he was deployed his family lived in Germany and he entrusted a property manager to take care of his home in the Midlands, especially when the devastating floods of 2015 hit.


“I could not physically be here. I trusted this property manager, that we had a signed contract, and I trusted the contractors to do what they said they were going to do. And everything was being supervised and managed by the property management company and they failed us,” Santana said. 


According to Richland County, the property management firm hired non-licensed contractors, so the $91,000 Santana spent on fixing flooring, walls, electrical, and heating and cooling all goes to waste, since the work was done without permits, not up to FEMA code, and violated regulations.


“A lot of the work that we paid for through invoicing that said was done, wasn’t done,” Santana said. 


New FEMA regulations require his home to be elevated by a foot, but Santana says his family does not have the money to do it. Forcing him and his family to live with his parents in Florida, and unable to sell the property since it is not up to code.    


“We love Columbia, we love the people. We’re just deeply saddened by what happened to us… I never imagined, as a veteran with three combat deployments and a purple heart recipient, I never imagined that a property manager and two contractors were going to take advantage of us as I was deployed defending this country and this great nation,” Santana said. 


Santana says if it was not for the floods, he would be retired and enjoying his favorite spot on the lake.


“My 7-year-old said, ‘daddy, I want to come home. I love it, I love the lake, I love it.’ But what do you say to a 7-year-old? ‘Son, I’m sorry, we just can’t,'” Santana said. Santana said he is working with Richland County to figure out all of his options for what is supposed to be his retirement home but it is currently unlivable and his family’s future is unknown. 

Categories: Local News, News, Richland