College volunteers help Biloxi grandmother move back home - - The News for South Mississippi

College volunteers help Biloxi grandmother move back home

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A Biloxi grandmother who was displaced from her home, not once, but twice, will get to sleep in her own house again.  On Wednesday, she moved back into her rebuilt home. Some college students pitched in to help make that move a lot easier.

Shirley Redmon got a lot of extra helping hands to haul the heavy furniture and household appliances up a flight of stairs. Fifteen volunteers from the University of Oklahoma and ten students from the University of Wisconsin are spending their winter break helping the 62-year-old grandmother move in to her newly-rebuilt home on Main Street.

"You don't realize that there's so much need still. So it feels good to come down and help those who still need help," said Natalie Emmerich, a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"They're amazing, so sweet and kind," said Redmon. "It was worrying me how I'm going to get all this stuff back up this house, but God always make a way."

Redmon has lived in the three-bedroom house for more than 30 years. It once belonged to her parents.

"They sold it to me for a dollar so I can have some where to stay," said Redmon.

Seven years ago, Hurricane Katrina flooded the house with eight feet of water. Redmon had to live in a FEMA trailer. The house was repaired and she moved back in, but disaster struck again. The foundation started to fall apart and the walls collapsed.  A year ago, Redmon moved in with her daughter so Hope CDA volunteers could rebuild the house.

"It's amazing to walk in and not be able to smell the mold. And the wiring is good, the plumbing is good. It just feels good," said Redmon.

After they finished moving all the furniture, everyone gathered on the deck to dedicate the home.  Hope CDA Executive Director Bill Stallworth opened with a short prayer: "We thank You for allowing us to come at this joyous time, welcoming this family back into their home. God, we pray that this be a home of joy, a home of peace, and a home of love."

When Stallworth handed her the key to the house, Ms. Redmon was overcome with joy and appreciation.

"It's awesome to be back in my home and I thank God and Hope CDA and the volunteers and everybody that helped me to get back in here. It was truly, truly a blessing," she said.  

"It was amazing to see her happiness and to see all of us gathered around her to bring her whole life back into this house," said Katie Trivitt, a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma. "She's wonderful. She's so excited and I'm so happy for her."

And Redmon told us what she will do first in her new home.

"I'm going to cook some chitterlings. I couldn't do that at my daughter's house. She doesn't like the smell of it," said Redmon with a big laugh.

This week, the Oklahoma and Wisconsin students are also working to rebuild homes in east Biloxi.

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