Family Receives Home Makeover

March 15, 2007

Reported by: Britney Glaser

We first told you about a program yesterday on Sunrise called "Alternative Spring Break" that has brought more than 300 young people to Southwest Louisiana for hurricane recovery projects.  Today, we introduce you to one family that is reaping the benefits of these Spring Breakers' hard work.

With a damaged roof that gave way to heavy leaking and eventually led to termites and mold in the house, single mother Roxanne Rankins and her two young sons were truly in need of a helping hand.

Although Gabriel is only four years old, he knows that Hurricane Rita was responsible for the massive damages to his family's home.  "The hurricane tore it up," says Gabriel.  7-year-old David says, "I just felt so bad that the storm had come and messed up the house."

Roxanne Rankins and her sons have been living in an extremely hurricane-damaged home for 18 months.  "I didn't know what was gonna happen," says Roxanne, "where we were gonna go or how we were gonna make it the rest of the month, because every time it would rain it would get worse and worse."

Without the money needed to repair the home, the Rankins made do with the space they had.  "Termites started eating away," says Roxanne, "and then there was mold...and we got sicker and sicker."  David adds, "It was just terrible. She was just like...sad, sad, sad."

But, this sadness just turned into hope for Roxanne with the arrival of volunteers to transform her home.  "Mom's happy," says David, "and my brother's happy."

"God has a very special plan for me," says Roxanne, "They always say wait...just wait, your blessings will come. They have come full force."

Maddie Elms is a Spring Break volunteer from Massachusetts.  She has seen first-hand how much of an impact this group can have on a family.  "She's just so grateful," says Maddie, "and she's wonderful and it's just so great to work with her."  Kristen Blanco, a volunteer from Pennsylvania says, "Even though it's just one house, one person, it's still something...and it's the start of a change in lifestyle for them."

These home improvements are a relief to young David.  "To know that you're safer and no termites around," says David, "and no raccoons crawling up in the house, and no more pipes busting."

"It's my mansion," says Roxanne.

"Thank you, all," says David.  Gabriel chimes in with another "Thank You," and Roxanne says the tears she has cried in sadness would have happy faces if you could see them today.