Christmas Looks Brighter for Ivan Victims

At Thanksgiving time we told you the story of the Terrell’s, a northwest Florida family of four, their rental home and belongings destroyed by Ivan. The family was living in a small travel trailer provided by FEMA and their 16-month-old son’s only toy was a tape measure given to him by the crew who set up their makeshift home.

Since our story, the Terrell’s plight has appeared in such papers as the New York Times and there has been an outpouring of generosity from around Florida and the nation. The family says they have a newfound faith in their fellow Americans.

When we met the family in November, they were living in an eight-foot-wide travel trailer with a stove too small for the Thanksgiving ham. Since our story, fate has turned the family’s way.

Kelly Terrell says FEMA called out of the blue and put them in a 70 foot full sized mobile home.

“There’s no words to describe it. This is the best Christmas present we’ve ever gotten. He doesn’t have to be in a playpen anymore."

Their previous trailer had no room for a Christmas tree. Now, Richard Terrell says there are two, and there has been an outpouring of support from across the country.

"Life got a lot better. I appreciate everything everyone has done, and is still doing."

In November, their son Sean’s only toy was a tape measure; now a closet is filled with toys. Kelly was reluctant to show us exactly what was in there for fear her four-year-old would learn about his Christmas presents on TV before the big day.

So thanks to the kindness of strangers and even government bureaucrats, a Christmas that looked bleak is suddenly bright.