JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- "I feel like I've suffered enough in my life." Local combat veteran Chris Langston is one tough guy. A weightlifter. A combat veteran who served in the U.S. Marines.
But -- through tears -- he is telling about a phone call he got a few days ago. "I got woke up to a call saying my house was on fire. When I got here, it was gone."
Langston lives in Starke in Bradford County, Florida. He got home from Iraq 14 years ago. He'd seen his "best friend in the world" attacked and killed by a sniper. "It was complete devastation," he said. "Snipers don't play around too much."
It's given him nightmares and survivor's guilt. And PTSD.
But he was getting his life on track. His PTSD was getting much more manageable. He credits K9s for Warriors for a major part of that.
Langston is a graduate of K9s for Warriors, and his service dog, Kup, is right by his side. But even Kup can't smooth over the fact that Langston finds himself homeless now.
"I think this hurts the most," he said as he walks to a charred pile of some sort of fabric. A closer look shows some small red stripes of piping and a metal pin covered in an ashen hue.
"These are my dress blues. These are actually my father's dress blues that he wore in the 70's, and I wore these same dress blues," Langston says, fighting back tears.
And the pin? It's an emblem for the United States Marines - EGA, as Langston says. "It's the Eagle, Globe and Anchor," he said, saying each word with pride.
On top of the emotional loss is the financial trouble. Langston says he's lived in his mobile trailer for 11 years, and he did not have enough insurance. At this point, he thinks he's $40,000 in debt on his mortgage.
He's grateful, though, that he and Kup -- and his three children-- were spending the night at his brother's house. They're all safe. Langston thinks some electrical problem set off the fire. The official state report is still pending.
Langston said, "I hate to ask for help." But he does have needs, of course.
A place to live would be the priority. Some place in or near Starke would be important.
He also needs bedding and towels.
You can donate to a GoFundMe account in Chris Langston's name.
"People ask me, 'What are your plans? Where will you go?' I don't know. I've never lost everything all at once," Langston said.