Community Rallies to Help Family Living in Garage

Posted at 8:31 AM, Dec 07, 2011
and last updated 2011-12-07 08:31:37-05

POWHATAN, VA (WTVR) –  UPDATE: See bottom of artice for info on how to help the Millers.

The odds seemed stacked against one Powhatan family, until the community heard about their story and rallied to help a family that had literally been shut out in the cold. Despite the tremendous support, the Miller family still face an uncertain future.

Rock bottom had come and gone for Chrissy and Skip Miller, who had been living in their garage with their young son Josiah, because it’s the only place they have to go to keep warm.

Chrissy is terminally ill with cancer. This is expected to be her last holiday season with her son and husband of 13 years. There are concerns that she will not even make it to Christmas.

Skip recently lost his job, and the family’s furnace was broken–and until the community stepped in– they were using propane heaters to keep warm in the small garage. The Miller’s are still also facing foreclosure.

“I kind of need to be two people. I need to be out working full time, and I need to be with my family full time,” Skip says.

In the meantime, hospice nurses are helping keep Chrissy comfortable. Doctors say she may only have days left to live.

“Take one day at a time. And just trust in the Lord with it. I don’t know what tomorrow brings. When I think of tomorrow I get scared,” Skip says.

Neighbors have already come together to make sure Josiah has presents under the family Christmas tree this year. Bags upon bags of toys have already been delivered to the family’s home.

A local Century 21 real estate group held an office pool Friday afternoon, and was able to raise about $3,600 dollars to help the Millers with their delinquent mortgage payments. They are still $2,000 in debt.

“We can’t cure her. We can try to help save the house, but more importantly we wanted to try to give this child Christmas with his mommy one last time,” real estate agent Karen Kelley says.

Even with the pain, Chrissy continues to hold her head high. She says her community’s kindness is reassuring in her final days, and knowing that her loved ones have people to lean on.

“It’s a wonderful thing… seeing that there’s Christmas in so many people’s hearts.”

The only two places approved for donations are as follows:

Horizons Hospice at 3228 West Cary Street and at 3864 Old Buckingham Road Fire and Rescue Administration Building. The Fire Department will be open on Monday, Dec. 5th from 9-4pm.

Penny Reams, Fire House Secretary, will be there with a sheet for donators to sign and keep track for the family.

These are right now the only two approved sites. Please be cautious when donating.

Work done on Sat. Dec. 3:

Jimmy Hesbach from Lakeside Heating and Robert Hodge from Goodman Heating worked on the Miller’s furnace today.

They still need copper pipe to fix a line that had been cut and also a new vent pipe.

Leon Snyder delivered a load of wood and has people lined up Sunday with a log splitter. Powhatan Fire Station installed smoke alarms to the house.

Outstanding Items for the Miller family:

Oil for the furnace

Drive way repairs

Monetary donations

The Powhatan Fire Department is accepting donations on behalf of the family.

Also Karen Kelley, a realtor with Century 21, heard about the story through the community and has also become involved. A Facebook page will soon be set up and on Monday a local bank account will be created where people to make donations to the Millers. Kelley said she would also like to create a paypal account for the Millers so that people can easily donate.

Kelley said that a lot of firewood has been donated and work is being done on the furnace.

She also said that the Facebook page will have updates on the family, the situation, what’s been done, what’s needed, the foreclosure status, pictures and messages.