Community rallies behind man who was laid off due to coronavirus, then lost his home in storm
GEISMAR- An outpouring of support from generous WBRZ viewers came through emails, texts, and social media messages after a report last week.
Pat Kelley was recently laid off from a local chemical plant due to the coronavirus crisis. His life was dealt an unexpected blow two weeks later after storms caused a tree to fall on his trailer that he called home. The next day, WBRZ profiled Kelley's story, and within minutes, viewers opened up their hearts and wallets to help.
"Beauty comes out in tragedy," Kelley said. "I pray to God every day. 'Please send me an angel. I don't know what to do.' Look what happened."
Monday, WBRZ was there as a man who did not want to do an interview found Kelley and placed a check in his pocket. Others donated to a GoFundMe page to assist Kelley. The largest donation came from a couple in West Baton Rouge Parish who said they were watching Kelley's story, and they knew they could help.
"I wasn't in the room when he saw the newscast and when I came back, he said 'I want to help Mr. Kelley,'" Jane Trabeaux recalled her husband saying. "He had tears in his eyes and said 'We can give him a home.' I looked at him and said 'Let's give him the camper.'"
Monday, Trabeaux told Pat Kelley help was on the way.
"Mr. Kelley, we saw the newscast the other night, and we decided we want to help you," Trabeaux told him.
Kelley fought back tears listening to the good news. He said his heart was full of gratitude.
"I've always felt God uses people as his angels," Kelley told Trabeaux over the phone. I thank you so much... Tragedies like this open people's hearts up. When one heart is bleeding another is overflowing and they both fill each other. It's so beautiful, and it all comes from God. Thank you so much."
For now, Kelley says he's working to get his old trailer removed to make way for the new one that the Trabeaux's are donating. He said someday he pledges to pay it all forward.
"All the beautiful hearts who contributed, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you," Kelley said.
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