RUSK COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Remodeling of an East Texas veterans home had already begun through Habitat for Humanity when that veteran passed away from complications suffered after catching COVID-19.
It left the family with no options, until some East Texas companies stepped in.
The Overton home being remodeled through Habitat for Humanity was being done on a special grant program for veterans, for retired Army Staff Sergeant George Gomez and his family.
“It was a total remodel. The original house was a two bedroom. Two sons and a daughter and the daughter was sleeping in the master bedroom with them. We needed to remodel the bathroom and remodel the flooring in the house,” said Raimund Gideon of the Smith County Habitat for Humanity.
“Habitat for Humanity was very considerate to us, and said we’re going to keep helping you,” said homeowner Anna Gomez.
But George passed away in August to to complications from COVID, and a problem arose.
“Because he passed away, they lost the ability to use the grant because he was the veteran,” Gideon says.
The kitchen still needed remodeling, and they had no air-conditioning or heating, and were using space heaters to stay warm.
“We’re still bundling up in warm clothes and blankets.,” said son D’Artagnan Gomez.
“I thought everything was lost. I don’t know what was going to be next. The help was going to be gone, that’s what I thought,” Anna says.
But Tyler-based companies Trane, Coburns, and Coy Dodd stepped up to provide materials, parts and installation for free.
And for the family, happiness that George’s service got one last thank you.
“My husband is still protecting us. We feel he’s still protecting us somehow,” says Anna.
Habitat for Humanity of Smith County has several grants to help low-income families, and people with disabilities with critical home repairs for clients in seven counties.
The Northeast Texas Habitat office in Longview services clients in three counties.