1. Military

Health and financial woes continue for MacDill families dealing with mold in base housing

Traci Lenz said this is what her kitchen vent looked like after mold remediation at her MacDill Air Force Base home. [Courtesy of Traci Lenz]
Published Mar. 22

TAMPA — Months after families began going public with complaints about mold-related health problems at their MacDill Air Force Base housing, they still worry about what the future may hold.

Some families who left their homes after finding mold are waiting on compensation for moving expenses and damaged belongings. They also worry about lingering illnesses and how to pay for them.

"We're still in limbo with nothing done or paid for from the insurance company or housing management," said Traci Lenz, a military spouse and mother of three whose family has been treated for health problems after moving out of their mold-infested base housing Jan. 15.

Lenz, 34, said her family is seeking $20,000 for moving expenses, damaged items and the cost of a hotel stay before they were able to move into a new rental property Jan. 30.

Lenz is also reluctant to sign a waiver precluding her from seeking health care cost reimbursement in the future.

"I ended up with pneumonia and it is questionable if there is fungus on my lungs," she said. "Our son will continue to have long-term health issues and my husband ended up on an inhaler with breathing problems."

Amie Norquist, 31, a military spouse and mother of four, is also waiting for about $40,000 in compensation for moving expenses and damaged household items. Like Lenz, she said her family also has lingering health issues. Her oldest daughter, she said, needs a medical airway vest to help her breathe and she does not know whether the Tricare military health-care system will pick up the cost.

Jenny Genrich, 37, said her husband Jason Genrich, 36, an Army chief warrant officer working at U.S. Special Operations Command, began experiencing a series of health problems they blame on mold in the base housing they first occupied in August. The housing management firm worked quickly to deal with their problems, Jenny Genrich said, but she still worries about children playing nearby who were exposed to moldy sub-flooring, removed from her home and left on her back porch.

Housing-related health problems have plagued military families nationwide, prompting Congressional hearings and visits to MacDill and other bases by senior military leaders.

The Pentagon is collecting data while looking for gaps in policies and procedures and considering a broader risk assessment for children in the military health care system.

Since 2007, MacDill's 572 homes have been run by Harbor Bay at MacDill, a partnership between Clarke Realty Builders and Michaels Management Services.

There may be some help on the way.

Mold Zero, a Clearwater remediation company, recently used its so-called dry fog mold removal technique to treat the Norquist's rental home in Riverview for free.

The company has other work lined up on base is looking into creating a non-profit to help base families treat mold problems, said owner Brandon Faust.

"These men and women protect us," Faust said. "We want to find a way to give back."

Contact Howard Altman at or (813) 225-3112. Follow @haltman.


  1. A Coast Guard rescue swimmer drops from a helicopter during a training exercise off Honeymoon Island State Park in 2012. Jim Damaske
    The bizarre threat and fakes calls for help are being transmitted over marine radio. It sounds like the same man, the Coast Guard said.
  2. MacDill Air Force Base will observe a full-day, "resilience tactical pause'' Friday to address a growing number of suicides in the Air Force. Airmen will participate in team-building activities and small-group discussions on mental health. This is happening at military bases across the U.S.  [Times files].
    An estimated 78 airmen nationwide have taken their lives this year, prompting leaders to boost prevention efforts
  3. Dr. Dominick Gulli and Tammy Alsing recently launched Cope Well Counseling Associates at 415 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon. ERIC VICIAN   | Special to the Times
    Dr. Dominick Gulli and Tammy Alsing recently opened their office at 415 Lithia Pinecrest Rd.
  4. Researchers from Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa participated in a newly released study that links post-traumatic stress disorder to ovarian cancer risk.
    A researcher from Moffitt Cancer Center participated in the study, which found that those with six or more symptoms of PTSD had double the risk of getting the disease.
  5. Capt. Joseph McGilley, commanding officer of Air Station Clearwater, center, gives an update on Wednesday about the air station's work in the hurricane-ravaged Bahamas. He stands inside a hangar on the Air Station Clearwater property in front of a Sikorsky MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, the same type being used in search and rescue efforts in the Bahamas. [JOSH SOLOMON   |   Times] JOSH SOLOMON  |  Josh Solomon, Tampa Bay Times
    Cargo planes, helicopters and people are all part of the effort.
  6. KC-135 Stratotankers will be evacuated from MacDill Air Force Case to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas ahead of Hurricane Dorian.  [Times]
    The aircraft are being sent to McConnell Air Force Base in Kansas as a precaution with high winds projected during the storm
  7. A bulldozer dumps a load of trash into a burn pit 300 yards from the runway at Afghanistan's Bagram Airfield in this 2012 photo. The Pentagon later built a trash disposal plant at the busy military base but a number of crude burn pits, still spewing toxic fumes, remain in operation. [Mark Rankin] HOWARD ALTMAN  |  Mark Rankin
    A number of veterans have been locked out of VA medical care and disability benefits for illnesses that often are terminal.
  8. Medal of Honor recipient Ryan Pitts, right, speaks while Clinic Director Karen Blanchette, left, Michael Sullivan, a Cohen Veterans Network Board Member, center, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, look on during a ceremony Monday marking the opening of the Florida Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Aspire Health Partners in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times] "OCTAVIO JONES   |   TIMES"  |  Times
    The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Aspire Health Partners will fill mental health service gaps for veterans and their family members.
  9. The Veterans Resurgence Program inside the Falkenburg Road Jail houses up to 60 veterans who can receive resources and counseling while serving time. Courtesy of Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
    Sheriff Chad Chronister’s Veterans Resurgence Program offers resources, counseling to incarcerated vets
  10. Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater’s new commander, Capt. Joseph T. McGilley, left, watches as Clearwater Mayor George N. Cretekos reads a proclamation recognizing the U.S. Coast Guard’s contribution to the city at a recent  City Council meeting. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Jose Perez