Fire Leaves Family Of Hurricane Victims Homeless Again

Just one week ago, an eight bedroom wood-frame house in rural Stone County was the only habitable home left to the Fairly family.

"I put a lot of money in it to try to get it ready for Christmas," says George Fairley, surveying the charred remains of his home. "Then you see this come up, it's a hurting thing."

All eight of George Fairley's children brought their own children to the family home to ride out Hurricane Katrina. They've remained there ever since.

"We were getting ready for Christmas," says daughter and mother of seven Tonie Fairley. "You know, despite everything that had happened we were getting ready for Christmas, and it had to happen at the worst time."

These families lost their individual homes from Gulfport to Wiggins. Now their ancestral home is gone, along the few possessions they had left.

"That's the killing part," says older daughter Bonnie Fairley of Gulfport. "We didn't have anything. We lost before and then after. It's bad. What should you do? What should you do?"

But the family, who has been forced to find homes with other family and friends, won a staunch new advocate when Tonie Fairly recently visited Bethel Lutheran Church in Biloxi.

"There's twenty some odd people living in the house out here," says John Dutscheck a nurse volunteer at the church. "And after going through Katrina and salvaging just a few pieces of what they had left, their whole house burned down."

Now Dutscheck, a volunteer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin is determined to find help for them, working through Bethel Lutheran Church.

"They're going to need a place to stay," says Dutscheck. "They're going to need at least one vehicle. They're going to need food. They're going to need clothing."

He says donations made to the George Fairley Fund will go directly to the family, and maybe help them hold on to the one thing they have left.

"As long as we're all together, we'll make it somehow or another," says George Fairley.

If you'd like to help the family, just call Bethel Lutheran's Disaster Relief Hotline at (228) 239-8882 and ask about the George Fairley Fund.