Son of Sevier County evacuee searches for father’s Purple Heart in rubble

Jim Cogdill (Courtesy: WATE)
Jim Cogdill (Courtesy: WATE)

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Travis Cogdill has spent hours combing through what’s left of his parent’s house looking for his father’s Purple Heart and other medals.

Travis Cogdill (Courtesy: WATE)
Travis Cogdill (Courtesy: WATE)

Nothing remains of the house that Jim and Judy Cogdill lived in for over 40 years. Judy said she and her husband barely got out alive.

“It was horrifying. By the time that we knew the fire was close, it was so close that it actually burned our faces as we got in our car,” she explained.

Jim, a Vietnam veteran, was in the First Cavalry in 1966 and was badly injured in combat. He also has cancer.

Despite losing his left leg in the war, Jim’s disability didn’t stop him from trying to put out last week’s fire. He says he’s grateful for the outpouring of love and support.

“There’s no way to thank them. It’s just like the fire, it’s overwhelming, so much help and kindness,” said Jim.

With his father’s medals missing, Travis has arranged to have them replaced. Meanwhile, his parents are temporarily living in his home.

An undamaged statue of Jesus is all that is left their home.

“God’s been with us. He spared our lives and we all owe the glory to Him,” said Judy Cogdill.

(Courtesy: WATE)
(Courtesy: WATE)