HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Two years ago, a tornado destroyed Lashonda Johnson’s home in Petal. Her road to recovery was plagued with thousands of dollars lost and false hopes of a new start.
A nonprofit organization is now stepping in to pick up the pieces for a victim of alleged fraud. This good news is a follow up to a WDAM 7 investigation.
The sound of a hammer against nails garners hope for Johnson.
“This has given me hope, and you just don’t know what that means to me,” said Johnson, a victim of the January 2017 tornado that tore through the Pine Belt.
It has been a long time coming for Johnson. She thought she would be in the cozy comforts of her home two winters after the tornado pummeled through her place of peace.
“You see this stuff on TV, but you don’t know until you go through it. I have definitely gone through it,” Johnson said.
She coughed up more than $75,000 to a contractor to get a roof back over her head.
“I never hesitated to provide him with the funds to complete my home,” Johnson said.
Then, she was backed into a corner. The money went into the pockets of a contractor who we discovered allegedly left several people suffering.
“It was just one excuse after another,” Johnson said.
Her sorrows are now fading with the help of the local nonprofit organization Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast Mississippi, or R3SM for short.
“I just took a chance on calling,” Johnson said. “I did not think that I would even get any help.”
“With her situation, it’s the worst, because she lost everything in the storm and also she was taken advantage of, unfortunately,” said Mavis Creagh, Executive Director of R3SM, Inc.
The organization stepped in to pick up the pieces. Now, the volunteers continue to rebuild Johnson’s home and restore her hope.
“We try to deal with them with compassion and be the hands and feet of Christ,” Creagh said.
“They were great with working with me and insured me that there was hope at the end of the tunnel," Johnson said. "I have my hope now.”