They've been working for months and Sunday, one Panhandle community was able to give a long time resident an early Cristmas gift she'll never forget.
The city of Groom only has about 600 residents, as we saw firsthand, what they lack in numbers, they make up for in heart. It all started with the entire community clapping as Paula Brown got out of her van, and then they all shouted in unison. "Your community loves you. This is for you. Truck drivers.... Move those trucks!!!" And so the trucks moved, revealing a brand new house. A gift from the people of Groom to Paula Brown, a woman who struggles with Muscular Dystrophy, yet has earned a reputation for always putting others first.
Brown says, "I've always taken care of somebody. That's just the way God made me, to take care of people."
Troy Ritter was a key player in raising funds to build Paula a new house. "Some people I called, some people I had to go see, but we were just gathering up money and we got enough money the first day to buy the house. "
Everyone, both old and young came together to raise more than forty thousand dollars to move Paula from her old house, which we are told was in such bad shape it was barely inhabitable, to her new house, complete with hardwood floors and retrofitted to meet her needs.
When Paula first saw the house, she was speechless. Then said, "I didn't think God could ever bless me like this."
Paula's Pastor, Jonathan Land, says, "It's a testimony to who Paula really is, that no one really hesitated to jump in and offer time, money."
Hundreds stood for hours in the cold on Sunday morning, waiting to welcome Paula to her new home. Ask any of them, and they'll tell you no one is more deserving. Ritter says, "One person said she has never had anything in her life nice and I said no she hasn't, but she's going to now."
Land says he's extremely proud of what the community was able to to. "It started as a work day and evolved into 'we just gave somebody a house.'" Not just a house, but a home... And the reassurance that she lives in a place where people know the true meaning of Christmas.
Paula says, "This is just the best community in the world. I've lived in big towns and little towns and the people are not like Groom"