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. Honor guard soldiers salute as the urn containing the ashes of Maj. Albert L. Mitchell, U.S. Army (Retired) is seen during a ceremony Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 in St. Petersburg. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The ashes were found in a St. Petersburg attic. Nine years after his death, a soldier is buried with honors at Bay Pines National Cemetery.
  2. Patriot Guard Riders Floyd Anderson (right of center), from Riverview, and (right) Henry Hyde, from Fort Myers, embrace after the funeral for Edward K. Pearson on October 1 at the Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota.  Mr. Pearson was not believed to have left any family behind, so the public was invited to attend. MONICA HERNDON  |  Times
    Edward Pearson Sr. had two sons. Their father walked out on them when they were teens. Years later, they were told he was dead.
  3. (left to right) Trevor Yarborough, 17, Kadie Weston, 17, and Connor Gadson-Yarbrough, 18, supervise their NJROTC classmates while preparing for the Iron Bear Challenge at Robinson High School in Tampa. MONICA HERNDON  |  Times
    Many of America’s future soldiers are too young to have a personal connection to the terror attacks or the war in Afghanistan that followed.
  4. Edward K. Pearson's remains are carried in for his funeral on October 1, 2019 at the Sarasota National Cemetery in Sarasota, Florida.  Mr. Pearson did not leave any family behind, so the public was invited to attend. MONICA HERNDON  |  Times
    An estimated 1,500 people showed up at the ceremony held for Edward K. Pearson.
  5. The KC-135s are the main aircraft for the 6th Air Mobility Wing soon to be redesignated as the 6th Air Refueling Wing. MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The 6th Air Mobility Wing celebrates its 100th anniversary while getting a redesignation
  6. A F/A-18A Hornet, assigned to the U.S. Navy flight demonstration team the “Blue Angels,” makes a pass past the crowd at the 2004 Joint Service Open House. Courtesy of Mate 2nd Class Daniel J. McLain
    MacDill Air Force Base will host Navy aircraft for three weeks beginning Oct. 1
  7. Army veteran Edward K. Pearson died in Naples with no living relatives. A social media campaign that swept the country is expected to bring crowds to his interment at a Sarasota military cemetery. Photo from Patricia Thrasher's Facebook
    The national political community is rallying around the story of Edward K. Pearson.
  8. Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday. Macguire was heading up a charity helping wounded warriors when he was tapped last year to join the intelligence community in Washington. PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS  |  AP
    The retired vice admiral and Navy SEAL helped raise millions for wounded warriors as leader of a Tampa-based foundation.
  9. A homeless Vietnam War veteran in Clearwater answers questions for a Pinellas County homeless survey. A shortage of affordable housing is considered a major cause of homelessness among vets in the Tampa Bay area. [Times files]
    Local agency leaders called on members of Congress to increase national affordable housing options as a solution to veteran homelessness
  10. 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.