After tragedy claims child's life, Detroit family gets fresh start

There is one thing Detroit has plenty of: empty homes. Two organizations came together to rehab one of those empty homes to provide one for a family in need.

- Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and Say Detroit have given away more than 30 homes to families in need. The Love-Wilkerson's are the latest ones and you may agree that  this family definitely deserves this fresh start.

Shirley Love and her husband Montez Wilkerson got their first look at their new home on Wednesday. As soon as they walked in to the kitchen, the tears started flowing.

The new home came ten weeks after an early morning fire gutted their house on Bessemore. Their children were forced to jump from a second story window but not everyone survived. Three year-old great-nephew, KJ, was living with them when the fire flared up.

When the fire spread, KJ was trapped inside. A week after the fire, he died from his injuries.

For the past two and a half months, the family has been staying with relatives and were unsure when they would be back on their feet. They got their answer on Wednesday when they got the keys.

We're a little banged up but we're still here. That's the most important thing. We miss our nephew terribly but I'm just happy that the rest of us is here," Shirley Love said.

The family is still together and in their new home thanks to the generosity from Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and Say Detroit. They rehab, furnish, and fill the fridge for families who need a fresh start.

"The one thing we have a good deal of in Detroit are available homes so as long as the city makes it fairly easy to work with and we can refurbish them, we shoudn't have families out on the street when we have this many empty houses that can be re-worked," Mitch Albom with Say Detroit said.

"It's a beautiful thing to see the smile back on somebody who at one point in time lost hope and lost the smile" Chad Audi with Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries said.

Thanks to their generosity, Love, Wilkerson, and their children have found their smiles: 19-year-old Willie Mae is still recovering from a broken leg and surgeries after her jump from the second floor. She offers hope for others trying to get back on their feet.

"You gotta take it one day at a time - but it's going to get better," she said.


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