Young burn victims have big surprise waiting when they come home

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Burn victims Katelyn and Tyler Myers were supposed to come home to Harrison County this week. But their aunt said Katelyn developed an infection and some leakage, so doctors want her to remain in Augusta, Georgia, until mid-march.

When the children come home, they will have a big surprise waiting for them. Volunteers are pitching in to make sure the family has an extra special homecoming. They are pulling out the cabinets and tearing up the laundry room. Employees from the Home Depot store in Gulfport are giving the Mayers' house on Smith Road a complete makeover.

"We're excited. This is just the beginning of it," said store manager David Benoit.

This labor of love is for Katelyn and her 12-year-old brother Tyler Myers. The siblings are still in Georgia recovering from severe burns they received from an accidental explosion outside their home last November.

Early on, several family members didn't think that Katelyn would even live to celebrate another birthday.  On Thursday, Katelyn turned nine.

To help reduce the risk of allergies and infections, the volunteers are ripping out the carpeting in the bedrooms and replacing it with laminate flooring. In order to open up the kitchen for easier access by wheelchair everything must go, even the kitchen sink. The master bathroom will be wheelchair accessible too.  And the volunteers will install ramps in front and behind the trailer.

"I had a daughter that was in a wheelchair for six weeks, so I know that when a house isn't wheelchair accessible, the struggles you can have. So we're just trying to ease some of the burden for them," said Benoit.

The children's bedrooms will have different decor.  Tyler's room will feature a hunting theme.   Katelyn prefers zebra print.

"I felt it would be a good thing for the kids to come home and have it nice for them, and able for them to access stuff. They've already been through so much, why not give them something to look forward to?" said Ashley York, Home Depot Garden Center Sales Associate.

"They'll come home, they'll feel comfortable. I love to help people," said Chris Pierce, Home Depot Electrical Department Manager.

About 100 volunteers from nine Home Depot stores in the district will be work on the house. The remodeling project should wrap up by the end of March, just in time for the children's homecoming.

"I can't wait to meet them when they come in. I bet you their eyes are going to be huge. There will be a big smile from ear to ear," said Pierce.

The Home Depot employees are also holding a fundraiser for the Myers family. They are giving away a $300 gift card to Rick's Meat Hook on Beatline Road in Long Beach. So far, they're raised about $700.  Tickets are $5 each. The drawing is this Saturday.

Other businesses have also contributed to the renovation project.  John Fayard donated a storage unit, Advanced Disposal donated a dumpster, and Home Depot vendors provided some of the supplies.

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