A Family Bond Stretches Hundreds Of Miles Between Volunteers And A Coast Family - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

A Family Bond Stretches Hundreds Of Miles Between Volunteers And A Coast Family

It all boils down to a simple four letter word: love.

"We love them.  They love us.  It doesn't get any better than that," says Wendell Sheets, Desert View Bible Church.  

Love is the glue that holds together the family bond created between volunteers from an Arizona church and a Coast family.

Work is nearly finished on Darlene Bradley's home, left underwater after Katrina. Bradley's home became a refuge during the storm.  Twenty people from the community rode out Katrina at her two story home.  Like others along the coast, the rebuilding process has been emotionally trying on Darlene Bradley.

"She's been kind of skeptical about it, because she was like all I can think about is the water being in my house and the mud being on all of my things.  Mr. Wendell and his crew, they've helped to erase the damage literally, physically and mentally for her through their strong Christian values," says Stacy Bradley, Darlene's daughter.

The group also helped clean up the homes of Bradley's daughter Stephanie and sister Eleanor Jones.  Jones' home had not been touched after Katrina until three days ago. Although badly damaged, Eleanor's home was also the saving grace for many in her community.

"I was thankful because 70 of my neighbors were fleeing the storm and they had no where to go... and they came in and they survive and I thank God for that," says Jones.

For some, it's their fourth trip to help this family along with others rebuild. A skilled crew of 22 came down along with volunteers from a custom door company who replaced as many as 30 doors in Eleanor's home.

"I thank God for them. I thank God for them everyday. They're wonderful people and hard working people. It's hard to make them stop working once they get started," says Jones.  

And now, a year and half after the storm that took so much from this family, they can now give thanks for what they've gained through the love, support and hard work of their new, extended family.

"I pray for them everyday and I thank God for them. They are wonderful people, and they're our family now. They're our family," says Jones.

The family prepared a catfish dinner tonight to thank the volunteers.  The group says it plans to come down at least twice a year in the future. Eleanor Jones says as her community rebuilds, she is also working toward organizing and building a community center.

By Krystal Allan


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