But now his home is a tiny tent, where a nylon screen covered with a weather-tattered American flag helps him fend off hordes of mosquitoes.
Hurricane Ike's ferocious storm surge strew the remains of his government-issued trailer in the weeds and trees and impaled them on what used to be a fence across Gulfway Road, where the thousands of pieces of his former home mingle with the rubble of a neighbor's home.
The neighbor, Wesley Alphin, 48, is sharing the tent with him.
"Mosquitoes will kill you here if you don't know how to survive," said Forsythe, 48.
"Between the snakes and mosquitoes, we got mountain lions and bobcats that tall," he said, holding a chain saw in one hand and gesturing waist-high with the other. "Alligators come through my yard. We're survivors here. That's what we do."