Tragedy Hits Twice in Harmony

When 12 year old Cota Marks first saw his home burnt to the ground Tuesday, all he could think about was his great-grandfather's belongings inside. Cota and sister Shelby have been in their great- grandparents care since their mother's death five years ago.

The worst part of the tragedy is, it didn't end with the fire. The kids' great-grandmother is now hospitalized in Tyler after suffering a heart attack Wednesday morning, and their great-grandfather is also in unfavorable health.

With no homeowners insurance, the family faces a tough road ahead.

"The kids have had an exceptional life these past five years," says their grandfather Drew Laverents, who's now taking care of them. "They were little when their mother was killed in a car accident."

And while they've experienced hardships this last week, the Marks children have seen their share of miracles. Local Harmony residents came to their aid Wednesday, donating money, clothes and household necessities.

"All I can tell them is thank you, they're very nice people," said Cota, fighting back tears. Harmony Intermediate School is accepting donations for the kids and grandparents. The school is located 10 to 12 miles west of Gilmer on State Hwy. 154.

Kerri Panchuk, reporting.