Volunteers come together to help St. Martin fire victim

Walker says people from near and far have helped the family clean up what's left. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Walker says people from near and far have helped the family clean up what's left. (Photo source: WLOX News)

ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) - It's been nearly a week since a St. Martin family lost everything they owned in a fire.

Luckily no one was home when the blaze ignited, but Brandon Walker says the reality of his childhood memories being burned away is a shock.

"It still hasn't really hit me that all this stuff has happened," Walker said. "You know, this was pretty much my basketball goal right over there and that's where I would play when I was real small, then moved it out to the front. Paw Paw would hang out right here. This is the room we created for him."

Walker was out of town when he got the news of his grandfather's house going up in flames. When he made it back home to walk through the rubble, Walker struggled to find a way to salvage the house his grandfather lived in for more than 40 years.

As the family attempted to rebuild their lives following the blaze, the first thing that came to Brandon's mind was social media.

"I recorded a video in the front yard just showing people, recorded everything, put it on Facebook and really got a lot of support and a lot of shares," Walker said. "The word really started to get out."

That support manifested when volunteers from across the Coast, Hattiesburg and even Slidell came out to help clean up what was destroyed so the family could begin to rebuild.

"And that's what it's all about. That's America. That's South Mississippi. We're about families and communities taking care of each other," volunteer Rick Crawford said.

Material things can always be replaced but people can't, and that's why family members say they're happy to have love and support from family and friends to help them start over.

"I would say that half the people that are here I don't even know," he said shaking his head. "It's amazing to see on a Saturday when people could be doing anything, but they chose to spend their time cleaning up a house."

The family has set up an online monetary account through. To make a donation visit https://www.gofundme.com/CharlieMatthews.

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