11.09.2010

PNOLA joins the Saints and United Way to bring two families back home!

New Orleans Saints players Roman Harper and Darren Sharper have decided to give back this holiday season and make a difference in the lives of two New Orleans families! Roman and Darren teamed up with United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area to bring two families whose houses were affected by Katrina home once and for all! The two Saints safeties offered to pay for all costs associated with the rebuilding of the homes, and United Way graciously contacted PNOLA to find the families and conduct the work needed to finish the job.


United Way and the Saints hosted a formal dinner at the Eiffel Society to announce to the families that they had been chosen to have their homes renovated. But, the biggest surprise to the families was that their homes had been sponsored by a New Orleans Saints player! Darren, Roman and some of their teammates were in attendance to meet the families and make the night extremely special and memorable!


The Jones Family with Usama Young, Darren Sharper and Marvin Mitchell.


Jim and Grace with the Jones family, Roman Harper and Darren Sharper!




Photos by Greg Rhoades / 504otos.com

Pre-Katrina, Toni Jones and her family resided at their home in Gentilly. The Sunday before Hurricane Katrina hit, the family evacuated to Cedar Hill, Texas to stay with Toni's uncle. After the storm, realizing their home had been destroyed by Katrina, they had no other option but to stay in Texas. In 2008, the family returned to New Orleans. They lived with friends and family, moving from house to house, for 6 months before finding a rental. In the interim, the family had been pouring their Road Home assistance back into the house. They paid a contractor $103,000 to renovate the house but, instead he only did about $70,000 worth of work and skipped town, leaving the home unfinished and the family out of funds.

John Johnson and his family resided in the Upper 9th Ward neighborhood pre-Katrina. Sergeant Johnson has been serving in the military since 1973 and is a veteran of the Iraq War. During Katrina he was serving in the Louisiana National Guard and was an active part of New Orleans disaster relief operations and stationed in the Superdome. His home in the Upper 9th Ward was destroyed and his family displaced but, he stayed in the city to deal with the aftermath. After Katrina he went back to Iraq for another deployment and has struggled to have his home renovated. Currently John works for the Wounded Warriors program, counseling other military and their families through trying times.

PNOLA is so glad to help find families for Darren and Roman to sponsor and we are very excited to have been chosen by United Way to provide volunteer assistance and building expertise to maximize the impact of the players’ generosity.

Sharper and Harper are encouraging their teammates and fans to also get involved with “Hope for the Holidays” and give the gift of hope… the gift of a home. The project is part of United Way’s NO Place Like Home campaign, which is raising money to rebuild the homes of nearly 500 families still living in temporary housing. For more information, visit www.unitedwaynola.org/hope.



Photos by Greg Rhoades / 504otos.com

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