His world is blown apart
Ex-Met Lyons lost home, memorabilia and his brother committed suicide as a result of Katrina
BY SUSANA ENRIQUEZ
Monday, Aug. 29. Barry Lyons will never forget the date or the ankle-deep water flowing through his
Hurricane Katrina had begun to lash the
The former Mets catcher gathered his family - his wife, Marsha, 46; his daughter, Danielle, 8, and her mini- Schnauzer, Jingles; and his father, Kenneth, 79, who has Alzheimer's disease - and walked to a neighbor's house two doors away, which was on higher ground.
A day earlier, he was able to admit his disabled mother, Margaret, 78, into a hospital.
They all survived, but more than six months later, Lyons, 45, is fighting his homeowners insurance company and lamenting the loss of his memorabilia - and more so that of his older brother, who committed suicide in January.
He vividly remembers that when the water started rising in the house and the windows were being blown out by the fierce wind and rain, the family sought refuge in a carport.
There, a motorboat tied to a trailer and a canvas tarp provided protection from the elements. For the next few hours, the four of them held on and prayed.
From the carport, they could see the roof of their next-door neighbor's house get ripped off and the windows and doors of their house get blown in. Waves from
When the storm finally passed, they found nine feet of water in the house and a hole in the roof. Although the structure was still intact, everything inside was destroyed, including much of his baseball memorabilia.
His 1986 World Series ring, appraised 10 years ago at $9,000, was gone. The VHS tapes with footage of the games he played - including his first base hit, his first home run and his only major-league grand slam - were destroyed.
Documenting that grand slam that led to the Mets' victory over the Giants was the back page of an issue of Newsday from
It now sits in a storage shed, along with waterlogged and mud-stained scrapbooks and yearbooks that he just couldn't throw away.
Lyons, who was drafted by the Mets in 1982, was released in 1990. In the six years that followed, he bounced around the major and minor leagues.
Before the storm,
Although he had a $350,000 policy with State Farm Insurance that covered the house and its contents,
A spokeswoman for State Farm, which has 390,463 claims related to Hurricane Katrina, would not discuss his case but said compensation is determined case-by-case.
Meanwhile, for three months, the family of three has lived in a FEMA trailer on his parents' property. Once that house, which had minimal damage, is fixed, Lyons and his family will move in.
"It's been a wild ride and a world-changing event for us,"
His wife, who teaches music at a Catholic high school, went back to work one week after the storm. Their daughter, whose school was not damaged, went back three weeks after the storm. His parents are in a nursing home in
After a week,
Since its inception in 1986, the organization has helped people with leukemia, brain tumors and Hodgkin's disease and has granted more than $19 million in aid to 1,800 families, executive director Jim Martin said.
Two months ago,
"When he spoke, the room was quiet," Martin said, adding that six people called after the dinner to make donations to
The loss of
"I have faith,"
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