--Welcome Home Mary Rush--

Great news: Mary Rush is HOME!!

I’m Heidi Miles, project manager over here at PNOLA BUILD. This week was another one of those weeks that remind us all over here why we do what we do. Monday we got to finally welcome home Mary Rush and Marvin Nelson, two of our homeowners whose homes were sponsored by various New Orleans Saints players. These two deserving clients have now been waiting almost 7 and we were so proud to welcome them home! I was the project manager for the Rush family and below is the speech that I gave at her welcome home ceremony. Hope you too can feel the joy and happiness that this moment brought us by reading about her journey.

“Welcome! My name is Heidi Miles and I am a project manager at the Phoenix of New Orleans. I had the great privilege of being a part of this incredible journey, one that started even before I had ever visited this city. Almost seven years ago, a storm called Katrina came and destroyed lives, communities, and 100s of homes, one of which we are now standing in front of. Something that Katrina did not destroy though was the spirit of the people. From the day I met Mrs. Mary Rush I saw the epitome of that New Orleans spirit that drew me to this city. A woman who has seen and been through so much with losing her home, but still has a spirit that makes me smile the moment I see her. 

I will never forget how happy she was after we only built the exterior walls.  Though this house was barely a shell of a home, she was overjoyed-like I said Mrs. Mary Rush embodies the indomitable spirit and resilience that courses through this city. 

During the time that PNOLA was building this house, Mrs. Mary’s journey took another turn. About halfway through the process Mary went into the hospital for several weeks, when she finally was released she came out paralyzed from the waist down. With a new life to adjust to Mary had to move to Mississippi with her daughter, Sabrina, who serves proudly in our United States Army. Despite the new challenges she faced, Mrs. Mary was no less determined to get home!

Finally, about two weeks ago, the day arrived! Waiting at her house with PNOLA staff and volunteers, we were so excited to show Mrs. Mary her new home! While sitting in front waiting to help Sabrina and Mary unload I get the simplest yet most unforgettable text message of my life, "We Home" Sabrina texted. Finally, seven years later, they were home! Finally this house that United Way, the Saints, and PNOLA staff and of course VOLUNTEERS from all over the country put countless hours in was going to be a home!! And indeed it was, the moment Mrs. Mary and Sabrina walked into the house, something changed, it went from our construction site on 1134 S. Gayoso to the RUSH Home! So, today, I want to officially say to ya'll, Sabrina, Chris, Kayla, Micah and Mary, WELCOME HOME!!!!

Before I pass the mike on, I just want to briefly remind everyone that as much as today is a celebration, it is also a reminder that though the journey for Mary to get back home is over there are still many families out there like the Rush family that are waiting to come home, families that call our office weekly who need anywhere from 500 dollars worth of work to a complete rebuild.

PNOLA strives to help all of these clients and are able to do so with the help and donations of people like you, Jahri Evans, the Saints, United Way, St. Paul’s Homecoming Center, Monte and Beth Ikemire Community Fund and of course our generous volunteers who not only give countless hours but donate their funds and resources. And for that, we thank you! So please, continue to reach out to your communities, families and friends and help more people like the Rushes finally "Come HOME"! Thanks.”

Thank you so much for reading and please consider helping PNOLA BUILD bring home more families through your time and donations. If you can get 20 friends to give 20 dollars that can mean 400 dollars towards bringing someone home! 

Below is a picture of Mary and I from that wonderful day!

                     Mrs. Mary Rush and I

Thank you,

Heidi Miles

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