JONAH, Texas (KXAN) — After the winter freeze in 2021, Emily Hamilton heard that her mother’s church friend, Lily Black’s, pipes had burst and left them without running water. One of Lily’s sons was in a wheelchair which made it especially difficult to find an accessible shower.
“We decided to do a fundraiser, play some music and raise enough money to fix their plumbing,” Emily said.
They raised the funds, but when Emily and her husband, Chris, went to their house to surprise them, they realized the storm had inflicted much more damage than they thought.
Emily and Chris both work in construction. Though it was a big task to take on, with the support of the Georgetown community and some anonymous donors, they built Lily and Bill Black a new home. Today, after months of living in a trailer with their three adult sons with special needs, Lily and Bill got to tour their new digs.
“I’m overwhelmed; my breath is taken away…it’s wonderful. I’m just so appreciative,” Lily said.
And there has never been a couple more deserving of this gift than Lily and Ben. The couple is now in their late 70s. On top of four biological children of their own, they have adopted eight kids with special needs over the years. Lily and Ben still live with three of them.
“We have a family of 12 children. We have three that have passed away. Our adoptive children – we adopted 8 – they had different medical and emotional needs,” Lily said. “Jeff, David and John are still with us.”
Emily and Chris said that their charitability doesn’t stop with their children.
“Through this, we have met so many people that know them. [The Blacks] have touched their lives,” she said. “It’s been a crazy, crazy journey meeting everybody that they have touched.”
That was evident by today’s walk-through. Dozens of people huddled inside to watch the Black family tour their new home. Sniffles could be heard around the room and everywhere you looked people hugged.
Chris said at the beginning stages of the project, Bill told him they shouldn’t go through with it because he didn’t know he would be alive to see it completed. Chris told him if he could live one day in the completed house, it would be worth it.
“It has been a lot of trying, determination and begging to be able to give them exactly what they need to be successful for the rest of their lives,” Chris said. “The house is fully functional now.”