Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mom Loses Sons in Fire, Helps the Homeless Wavy TV Story

GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) - After losing her three children and mother-in-law in a fire, a Gloucester woman is giving back to the community that helped her during her darkest hour.

Grogan knows all about loss. On a bitterly cold night in January, fire erupted inside her Summerville Road home.

"The nightmares have gone for the most part," Grogan added. "I had one a couple weeks ago, and it was really bad."

A nightmare isn't even the word to describe what she went through. She was saved from the burning home, but her four loved ones weren't as lucky. Seven-year-old Thomas Grogan, 2-year-old Michael Grogan and six-month-old Gabriel Grogan were killed; their grandmother, Virginia, died after running back into the burning home.

"In my mind, I knew they were gone when nobody came out [of the burning home] after me," Grogan said.

The home was destroyed, but Jessica is rebuilding her life. Part of that, is giving back to a community that helped her husband and her when they had no one else.

"When the fire happened, we were only given three days in a hotel by the Red Cross, and we had nowhere to go," Grogan added.

Grogan and her husband were essentially homeless.

"It only takes one person to change somebody's life," she said.

Jessica, along with a couple friends formed a group inspired by the idea of creating a change. They started a Facebook page called "Make the Homeless Smile." They hope to convince people everywhere to get out and help a neighbor, the same way neighbors helped her when she had nowhere to go.

"There are homeless people everywhere," Grogan added. "You don't know what the situation is, and it happened to them."

For Jessica, the cause is near to the heart. It's also about finishing what a seven-year-old started.

"Little Tom, he was my angel," she said. "Even when he was here, he was an angel in disguise."

In his short time on Earth, Thomas learned the meaning of giving. Jessica says he helped his father ring a charity bell one Christmas. He also donated his piggy bank to help victims after Gloucester was hit by a tornado.

"If a seven-year-old can do it. grown ups can do it too," Grogan said.

This mission by Jessica and her group is really just beginning. They are holding an event September 28 -- that's the day they want everyone to get out and do something nice for someone else.

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