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Local businesses help family get back on their feet

By Amanda Brannon
WCTI Staff
Published On: Nov 24 2013 06:19:57 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 26 2013 06:03:46 PM CST
MARTIN AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES -

A Washington County family who lost their home in a fire over the weekend is getting help from local businesses.

"Sunday when we left the house the only thing we had was the clothes on our backs," Antoinette Graham said.

That's where workers at Wal-Mart in Williamston stepped in to help.

“It was all about the kids. To lose their home and their belongings at this point in the year that just kind of tugged at my heart,” market manager for Wal-Mart, John Jones said.

“You don't know what you have until you lose it,” Graham said.

Whether it’s blue jeans or a winter coat, this family is grateful for the generosity of the community.

“I appreciate this. This is lovely. You got someone to pick it up for you and all I gotta do is ride and point,” Jackie Graham said.

“All of us we feel real special, real special,” Onika Johnson said.

“Thank you for helping us and giving my mama some clothes,” 8-year-old Tony Johnson said.

The family was able to pick out three outfits each, along with pajamas, a winter coat, shoes and toiletries.

The Shamrock Restaurant in Williamston is also in the giving mood. The owner was so touched by the family's story that she is providing Thanksgiving for them.

“If i was in that position, I’d want someone to help me,” owner Deborah Dunning said.

The family is still looking for a permanent place to call home until they can rebuild their home on Luvera Street. They said they may have found a place to go for Thanksgiving.

The Red Cross is assisting the family. To learn how you can help, contact the Greater Pamlico Chapter of the Red Cross at 252-946-4110.

-----Previous Story------

A family lost their cat and all their Thanksgiving preparations in a fire that destroyed their home in Washington County.

The home on the 100 block of Luvera Street in Plymouth first caught fire just before 4 p.m. Sunday, officials said. The fire then reignited at about 3 a.m. Monday.

The home has been ruled as a total loss, according to investigators.

Six people were on the property at the time of Sunday's fire. Grandmother Jacqueline "Jackie" Graham, her daughter Onika, and Onika's 26-year-old daughter were inside the home. Playing outside were Onika's 8-year-old son and 2 grandchildren: ages 3 and 6.

All six were able to escape unharmed. But the family said their cat, Snowball, died in the blaze.

"We have nothing. Nothing but each other," Onika Johnson said.

The family told NewsChannel 12 they also lost all their Thanksgiving preparations- including the turkey, ham, sides and more.

"How can I feel? I guess I'll get a couple of TV dinners now. Not exactly the Thanksgiving you had hoped for? No, but I'm grateful anyway. I'm here. You know the kids are here," Jackie Graham said.

The cause of the fire appeared to be electrical in nature, said investigators.

The Red Cross is assisting the family. To learn how you can help, contact the Greater Pamlico Chapter of the Red Cross at 252-946-4110.

The family said they moved to Plymouth from Brooklyn, N.Y., right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks because they wanted to live in a safer place.