Tragedy Turns To Hope For Pascagoula Family

Just a few short months ago, Leroy Johnson was confident he and his family would be back in their hurricane damaged home for Christmas.

"What was left was working on the roof and the front door," says Johnson.

But a fire in early November ended that hope. And it was just part of a series of tragedies that ended three weeks later with the deaths of Johnson's two beloved grandsons.

"I was out of it for a while," says Johnson. And I'm just now really getting myself back together."

Two-year-old Keyshawn and three-year-old Phillip died in an apartment fire that nearly claimed the lives of Johnson's daughter Claudia and his granddaughter Nykeria as well.

"It's been kind of rough, but God is with us," says Johnson.

And thanks to the Jackson County Chapter of the American Red Cross, a lot of others are with them as well.

"We just looked at this situation and said, 'This is unacceptable." And we're going to do what we can," says Red Cross Executive Director Paige Roberts. "And not one person has said, 'No' to me."

That includes a new non-profit home building organization called Hope Has a Face, and more than a dozen other agencies, churches, businesses and community groups who've dedicated themselves to building the family a new home in just seven days.

"It's just really touching to see such a labor of love for a family who's had to go through so much," says Roberts.

So on Thursday, the Johnson Family said goodbye to the home Leroy has lived in for 50 of his 57 years.

"This close to Christmas too," says Johnson. "Everybody wants to be home, but they're spending their time with me. Excuse the english, but ain't God good."

For this family, it's a well deserved Christmas miracle.

"Here's to community," says Roberts, proposing a toast.

The Imperial Palace, where Leroy's wife Bronstine works, is providing the Johnson Family with a room to live in until their new home is completed sometime around the New Year.