Carmel Community Rallies ‘Round Teen Sisters, Raising $ To Help Them Keep Their Home
"This whole thing was a complete shock."
Steve Thomas's daughter runs track with Devyn Robinson at Hermon High School. After a track meet earlier in the month, Thomas's daughter came out to the car with a gut-wrenching tale of her teammate's predicament; Devyn's mom had been diagnosed with cancer, was in the hospital, and was not expected to recover. Thomas was in disbelief, and days later, when he went over to check on Devyn and her older sister Jordyn, to make sure they had enough fuel, he learned the unfortunate news; their mother had died.
"It was a complete shock to the girls. They had no plan in place. They didn't know how they were going to feed themselves, pay bills, keep their house. They live in a very modest mobile home and all they wanted to do was to stay there."
The girls had lost their father last fall and were caught completely off guard when their mother passed just months later, as the diagnosis and ultimate passing of their mom happened within days of each other.
Devy, who is 17, and Jordan, who is 19, had been living with their mom in a mobile home in Carmel, on land that had been in their mom, Lee Anne Robinson's family for generations.
It's the only home the girls have ever known, but the building, which was fabricated in the late 1970s, is very much in a state of disrepair, with a leaky roof, inadequate insulation for the home and the pipes, which would freeze during each cold snap.
Thomas reached out to some community members, and quickly put together a GOFUNDME account for the girls. The community then started to rally around the sisters, with donations of time, money, services, and even a new mobile home.
According to Thomas, Billy Hartt, former owner of Hartt Transportation, has purchased a new home to be put in place of where the current home stands. Thomas says the community is in the process of inspecting the property to see if a new slab will be necessary.
"A bunch of us jumped in and tried to come up with a game plan, and that's what we've been working on the last couple of weeks.
Thomas says a relative will be stepping in to act as the girls' guardian. And a financial planner and lawyer have come forward to provide the legal work to make sure the money donated will be put to the best use for helping the girls stay together and in their new home.
"There's a real estate broker who has been taking care of the plowing. Dysart's filled up their fuel tank. There's a whole list of contractors ready to help. Anthony Glidden of SiteWerx has agreed to do the earthwork for this. There's just a lot of good people who have come forward to help."
Thomas says they're great kids who have been active in the community and always done well in school. While Jordyn recently graduated, Devyn hasn't even skipped a day of school since her mom died.
"Even after her mother passed away, she continued to go to school. She's very committed to athletics."
Thomas said he's even reached out to a financial aid counselor at the Finance Authority of Maine to make sure that when she graduates, Devyn will be able to continue on to college.
"We can't replace their mother, but we're trying to position them so they can have a decent start to their lives."
At last check, they were about $6,000 shy of their goal. If you feel moved to donate, here is the link to the GOFUNDME page Thomas set up for the girls.