LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - ?
Becky Menard says the Buckner Family Place has been renovated several times since she lived here a decade ago, but the support and the love received by the single mothers who live here today remain the same.
"I wouldn't be here without them. I would still be working all the time for nothing," Menard said.
Menard returned to her old home for the first time since 2005, but she says it felt like only yesterday that she moved into Buckner to change her and her son's lives for the better.
"When he's more comfortable with his babysitter than his own mom, it broke my heart,"Menard said.
Like some of the women who gathered today to celebrate the graduation of a Buckner resident, Menard has experienced working at dead-end jobs for low wages and rarely seeing her baby.
"That was when I realized, something has got to change," Menard said.
She moved into Buckner Family Place. The organization paid her way through college, and gave her baby a safe home. Today, Menard is a well-known paralegal in Southeast Texas.
"I owe everything to them,"Menard said.
Menard was at the graduation not only to deliver a speech on her revelation, but also as a secret Santa to a family who is where she was 10 years ago.
"I want to give back to the people that gave me so much," Menard said.
She shared her story with the mothers who she could relate to most. Today's graduate, Ashley Atkinson, says before she went to Buckner, she was a mess. In two years, she has graduated from Angelina College, and will soon be a nurse.
Menard had one main message.
"Just don't give up,"Menard said.
The family Ms.Becky adopted won't find out about their secret Santa until later, but she does plan on adopting a family every Christmas from now on.
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