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Family Fulfill Dream Of One Of Their Own

In one week, an East Texas family will open the doors to a home they've spent the last five months building for a low income family.   It was the dream of Payton Lewis, 22, who was killed in December when his car started on fire.  After Payton's death, his family decided it was their mission to finish what Payton had started.  

It has almost become their home away from home.  Everyday, if you drive down East Magnolia Street in Troup, you'll find Delicia Lewis, Brison McPhail and Jason McClaran.

"I have fun everyday," said McClaran. "I mean I learned all this stuff growing up, just doing odd jobs out on the farms and stuff before I went into the military."

Before moving to East Texas, McClaran was in the airforce for seven years, but he gave it all up after his brother Payton died, hoping to keep Payton's Project alive.

"All that he wanted to do was give people houses, so they don't have to move, so they can afford it, and they don't have to work a job all the time," said McClaran. 

It's a dream, that brought Payton's other brother, Brison McPhail, to East Texas from Dallas, knowing this is where he had to be.  "Everybody that loses a family member I'm sure can understand that they want to make sure that their brother, or sister, or mother, or father's name lives on and doesn't fade away, so this is what we are doing to make sure it doesn't fade away," said McPhail. 

Payton started his project a year ago.  He sold his car and gave up his job, so he would have the money and time to buy a house in Troup and fix it up.  "He told me that he really had a passion for homeless people because we were homeless at times," said Delicia Lewis, Payton's Mother. "I'm a survivor of domestic violence, not a victim, so we lived in shelters a lot of times."

Lewis also helped Payton start his dream by selling her home in Hawkins and giving the money to Payton's Project.  "Payton was a dreamer, and this dream is worth standing behind him for," said Lewis. 

In one week, all their hard work will pay off, as Lewis, McPhail and McClaran will open Payton's home to the public, hoping to find someone special to live there.

"This house is blessed," said Lewis. "It's a miracle, already, so I hope someone who is praying for a miracle gets this house."

This is only the first house Payton's family plans on building. They say they already have property in Hawkins, where they will build next.  

The open house for Payton's home is a week from today from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., and then again Sunday from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. It's located at 502 East Magnolia Street in Troup.

Molly Reuter, Reporting.


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