Marching up the wooden steps, firefighters and deputies filed in to a Hall County home bearing gifts.
Two brought a children’s kitchen set; another pair hauled in a washing machine.
One bike became three bikes became five bikes perched on the front porch with children of ages 6, 7, 9, 12 and 15 looking on in amazement.
It was a Christmas miracle, Hall County Schools mentor Brendann Jordan said.
The Hall County Sheriff’s Office and Hall County Fire Services delivered toys and other home essentials Wednesday morning to a family in need.
“There was so much love and blessing,” the mother Lorena said while holding her 1-year-old son Alan. “It’s hard to explain.”
The Times has not used the last names of the family for privacy concerns.
Deputy Jonathan Jackson said it started with a letter from Jordan, who described the condition of the home.
“The mom’s just doing the best that she can,” Jackson said. “They just didn’t have a lot as far as pots, pans, dishes, cooking utensils.”
What hurt the most to see, Jordan said, was the lack of toys.
“I didn’t have much when I was growing up, but I had a toy or two or tried to make some,” Jordan said, standing misty-eyed in the threshold of the house during the parade of presents.
Jackson and others assessed the house inside and out, fixing wiring issues and potential fire hazards.
Businesses such as Home Depot, Best Buy, American Pawn, Budget Carpet and Ray’s Gutters donated goods to build the home up.
“They helped supply the materials,” Jackson said. “We helped to supply the labor to get them to a point where they could enjoy the home as a family.”
After the presents stacked up as high as the youngest children, deputies grabbed a power screwdriver to hang up the stockings.
This week will not be the last with the deputies in the driveway, Jackson said. There’s still more to do in terms of heating and air and looking at the overall viability of the home.
“An entire community has come together to help one of their own residents, and it’s been very powerful, I guess you could say, to see the level of support that we’ve had from everyone in the community,” he said. “There’s been a couple times where we felt like we had more help than we knew what to do with.”
Deputy Thomas Hyde said he knew the children through his son, describing the family as friendly and doing well in school.
“Underneath all this, I’m still a human, I’m still a man, I’m still a dad, I’m still a husband. To be able to help another family, to me, that’s our job to protect people and to protect their property,” Hyde said.
Officers making the trip Wednesday responded to the fatal wreck on Poplar Springs Road the night before, where a 6-year-old boy was killed. For the emotional rollercoaster that is public safety, Deputy Fire Chief Chad Black said the morning’s mission brought him a new high.
“In our line of work, we see a lot of people where bad things have happened,” Jackson said. “People usually aren’t happy to see us. If they are happy to see us, it’s because something bad has happened. When we leave, it’s usually not good circumstances. To be able to be part of this and see smiles on people’s faces and they’re happy to see us and they’re happy when we leave, it’s something we don’t get to see a lot.”