Stranded family gets help
Published 2:25 pm Monday, August 5, 2002
By By Robbie Byrd, News Editor
A group of volunteers with the Atmore Area Christian Care Ministry and other caring citizens had a story to tell last Friday as they waved goodbye to a set of traveling strangers.
The community came together last Wednesday to help a family of five return safely home to Houston.
When Music Director Newt Hendricks, and Secretary Julia Harrison arrived at First Baptist Church on Wednesday, they had no idea of the surprise they were in for.
Waiting in the parking lot was Jorge A. Deva and his family. It seems that the Deva's had been traveling from South Carolina to return home to their family in Houston. On the way, Deva's car began to run hot. He had no money to have the car repaired, so he kept going, hoping for the best.
After a long travel down I-65, Deva knew that he could not go any further.
While those interview are unsure who instructed the Deva's to come to Atmore, they were told that they could get help here.
And Dottie Albert, volunteer with the AACCM, said that whoever they were, they were absolutely right.
Leon Lyles, one of those who came to the Deva's aide, said that repairing the car was a difficult, time consuming and costly effort, but definitely worth the trouble.
Lyles contacted David Gibbs with David's Paint and Body. After discussing the car's problems, the car was brought to Gibbs' shop and examined.
The engine block had suffered a severe crack, making the engine worthless.
With the help of Bruce Trawick, the team was able to get a new motor for around $500.
Lyles said that many contributed in helping get the car fixed.
In fact, Gibbs hired a team of mechanics to come in and repair the engine. The team worked at half their normal rates to ensure the families safe return.
Moneys from Brooks Memorial Baptist Church, New Beginning Holiness Church, Livingstone Fellowship Church, Grace Fellowship Church and FBC were just not enough to cover the costs of the repairs.
So, Lyles said that Gibbs gave them many of the parts and tools they needed to get the job done.
Communication a problem
While the Deva's had been living in the states for some time, they spoke no English.
This caused for much confusion and frustration when volunteers attempted to converse with the Deva's.
Albert and Lyles both applauded James Webber, who speaks fluent Spanish.
Cozy stay in Atmore
It was hardly a pleasant situation for the Deva's, Albert said, but many area agencies came to their rescue to make the stay as pleasant as possible.
But repairs took much longer than expected, and the Deva's were looking at a night in Atmore with nowhere to stay.
Luckily, a hispanic family in Atmore came to their rescue.
While neither would say who or how much was given, the Deva's received more than they expected.
To help them on their way, area givers donated an unreleased sum of money to the family to ensure their safe return home.
Lyles and Albert said that there was only reason that they feel everyone came together to give of their time, money and selves: compassion.
And the favor was certainly appreciated. As soon as Deva arrived back in Houston - with his wife, one four-years-old, another two-years-old and finally one 2-weeks-old - he called Torres and asked him to thank everyone that had helped in his family's safe return home.
Lyles and Albert said that no thanks was necessary, but nice to hear.