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By Theresa Schmidt

Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – In LeBleu Settlement Monday morning, it was a red-letter day for a family who wondered if they would ever get back into their home. It’s one of many homes severely damaged by Hurricane Laura.

This weekend will mark 18 months since Hurricane Laura devastated the Lake Charles area, and it’s hard to remain patient for those still waiting to get back into your home.

Yet, for the Deshotel family, hope wins the day and gives way to relief and gratitude.

Those who helped to redo the home came from at least four different agencies, with different roles, but they saw a need and responded.

Doug Goertzen is one of many with Mennonite Disaster Services.

“When I got here, I saw a man with empty eyes. He had lost all hope,” Goertzen said while talking about how he and the homeowner had become close friends.

Monica Broussard came from Southern Mutual Help Association.

“It was long after the hurricane and this place looked like the hurricane had just happened. And people … they didn’t know where to go, they didn’t know what to do,” Broussard said as she remembered the day she first met the lady of the house.

Braylin Harris with Southwest Louisiana Response said they are doing what they can to accommodate the needs of those who come from out of town to help.

“That’s our goal: any way that we can lay the rails and grease the tracks for national organizations coming in,” Harris said.

Sara Judson with the Community Foundation said they like to say, “We connect people who care with causes that matter.” The foundation helps provide funding for those who do the rebuilding.

In this case, the cause is a family struggling for more than a year to find their way home.

It’s a collaboration, some might say was made in Heaven, that has made all the difference for Vernon and Tina Deshotel.

“I prayed, and I asked God, ‘Please, send us people to help us.’ And he sent all of you! All of you,” Tina said holding back tears. “I can’t begin to tell y’all how much that means so much to us. Because we didn’t know where we were going to go, what we’re going to do.”

Her husband, Vernon Deshotel, was also emotional.

“I thank y’all from the bottom of my heart. May God bless each and every one of y’all,” Vernon said.

And these kinds of collaborations continue in Southwest Louisiana. Officials said those looking for help and those who have help to give should begin by calling 211.

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