Habitat for Humanity Helps the Pate Family Rebuild

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On the anniversary of the April 27th storms, we introduced you to the Pate family. Both the father, Michael, and then-two-year-old son, Tyler, suffered brutal physical injuries after being thrown more than 200 yards from their trailer in Hillsboro.

The EF-5 tornado that tore through Lawrence County on that day also destroyed the Pate's home.

The Pates worked on returning to normal when FEMA helped them buy a house in Decatur following the storms, but that house was far from livable.

With help from Habitat for Humanity this week, the Pates are moving to closer to making that house a home.

Habitat for Humanity offered to help the family as part of its involvement with storm-related long-term recovery efforts.

"They have a great story," said Habitat for Humanity Resource Development Director Landis Griffin, "I mean they went through some horrific things, as all of the tornado victims did, and we're just so thrilled that we're able to help them."

Habitat for Humanity plans to replace all the windows with new Energy Star windows, as well as repaint the house and garage and fix the roof. Volunteers helped prep the house on Wednesday and they plan to paint all day Saturday. However, there is still plenty more that needs to be done.

"The foundation- there's some problems under the home that we're going to try to shore up with some other funding hopefully from other funding streams and volunteers that we can get some help from that," said Dewayne Blackmon, the Pate's case manager at Community Action. "Inside the home needs some work done, but Michael's doing most of that himself."

All this work needs to be done quickly. The Pates currently have a rental place, but its lease is up at the end of June.

Still, the family continues to take life one day at a time.

"We know we're going to get there," said Michael, "it's just we don't know when and it just feels good to know that bigger steps are being taken than baby steps."

"It's that sense of 'I have a place that's my own, I have a home, I'm safe' and that's kind of what Habitat's about," said Griffin. "We're rebuilding families and this is a family that needs help and Habitat just wanted to reach out and help them."

"I'm grateful," said Michael, "it's going to be pretty when it gets done."

As for how the rest of the family is doing, Tyler recently finished up with his intense constraint therapy down in Birmingham. He also recently turned four and got a puppy named Fiona for his birthday. Andrea is preparing to graduate from cosmetology school Thursday. She hopes to open her own nail salon at the Pate's new home.

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