The McDonalds were introduced to East Texans on Tuesday. It's the story of three families who fled the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The exodus was led by Lorenzo and Adrian McDonald, who expected a tenth wedding anniversary to be marred by their personal tragedy.
Despair was setting in. Money was running out. A brother-in-law is missing. There was nowhere to go. Instead, the McDonalds have reason to smile on their anniversary. Immediately after the story aired, people wanted to help.
On the couple's tenth anniversary. they were packing their bags for a new future, all thanks to the generosity of others. "It's just so comforting to know that someone cares," said Lorenzo.
For instance, after hearing their story, North Street Church of Christ paid for three rooms for three families for three nights. Then, a Nacogdoches couple provided housing for two families. Adrian said, "They adopted our friends that were with us and they housed them and his mother is going to house my sister and her family and her sister-in-law and her family in Bryan." This allows Lorenzo and Adrian to feel better about a transfer to Houston provided by Adrian's company.
Lorenzo expressed his thanks. "There's been an outpouring, and that's the best way I can sum it up. I mean this one family that's taken us in. You have to ask yourself, 'Could you do what he's trying to do?'"
Monique Simms, who headed to Bryan to live in a free rent house, said, "I can only say [it's] a blessing that we are in Nacogdoches. I never heard of this place, and I will be back."
No one left without saying thank you. Unused hotel vouchers were returned, followed by a prayer. Then, Lorenzo asked for his first favor from the pastor who helped with the hotel. "When we get finished and all this is behind us -- hopefully, next year, everything will be up and running -- we'll let you redo our vows."
It was an anniversary to be remembered, in a small town with a big heart to come back to visit.