Family moves into new Pratt City House - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Family moves into new Pratt City House

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A family in Pratt City can now have their Sunday dinners back home again. The April 27th tornados destroyed many houses there, including one belonging to a woman who spent time helping others following the storm.

"The tradition starts all over again."

It's a familiar memory.. but in a brand new house.

Tracy Hipps, with Christian Service Mission, "What that fellowship is that room does to a family, that means everything in the world."

Brenda Roberson says "We had dinners every Sunday. Mom cooked every night."

The Gary Family consisted of 14 children... and on special occasions they met at their parents house on Mildred Avenue... even years after the death of their mom and dad. But in 2011, the tradition here ended.

Family member, Carmen Moore, says "When the tornado came, unfortunately there was no insurance and because this house was still in my father's name, we had a hard time getting assistance from FEMA."

Two daughters, including Judy Whatley still lived there. But her own future was put on the back burner following the storm. "I was thinking about other folks. I was at the church cooking and making sure everyone else was fine."

Hipps says, "We started asking her about her home and this was her home and we spent a lot of time with her, but she never stated her own need."

But Christian Service Mission helped answer that need by re-building the family house in Pratt City. Whatley and her sister Brenda Roberson will be moving in and throwing those family gatherings once again.

Moore says "It was all in his plan, the way it happened."

Christian Service Mission has helped re-build around 30 houses since the storm. In fact, Hipps says more than 4-thousand volunteers helped in the effort last year. The organization is also working on community gardens to continue re-vitalizing the area.

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