Veteran who spent his life building homes for others, in danger of losing his own

Rebecca Crockett
March 25, 2019 - 5:00 am

Idris Raoufi


Kansas City, MO - Fred Tatum is a veteran of the Korean war, and a widower of 20 plus years. He used to run large construction jobs, and spent a lifetime building homes for other people. Now, Tatum is in danger of losing his own home, built by his own two hands.

Idris Raoufi met Tatum after buying a house from him that had belonged to his diseased brother. The house needed some work, and Tatum was quick to help Raoufi, leading to a father/son like relationship. 

Over the past few years, Raoufi noticed a change in the 86 year old's usual vibrant spirit, and a desperate call one evening revealed the reason why. Tatum, who lives month to month, was three years behind on his property taxes, and after exhausting his options, Tatum explained his home will be foreclosed on at the county auction by the end of August if he couldn't pay the $5,000 he owed.

 "It's more than just a house to him. He's very proud of that house, he's built every component in it," explains Raoufi.

And it's not just that, the home is filled with the memories Tatum and his wife built together. "This house is the last thing he has to remember her by," says Raoufi.

Tatum still works every day, according to Raoufi, "He now works odd jobs, working for people who can't afford to pay the going rate for construction projects. He sometimes takes jobs he shouldn't just to make ends meet, but the physical demand is taking its toll."

Raoufi feels Tatum has given so much to him and many more and feels powerless to help him. He's started a GoFundMe to help lift the burden from his shoulders.

Raoufi explains that Tatum is humbled by the responses already pouring in, and his once vibrant spirit, is starting to return again.


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