Here’s How a Community Got Together to Save a Family Home

When an entire community rallies behind you, it’s more than enough motivation to keep going.

It’s what Julian Nicholson and Jaylan Gray from Katy, Texas, experienced when their community stepped in and gave their home back to them. 

Life hasn’t been easy for the two brothers since they lost their mother, Roslyn Nicholson, two years ago. Jaylan made a promise to Julian before she died to take care of Julian and not sell the house she worked so hard for. 

The two brother's deceased mom in her wedding gown

Jaylan tried hard to honor his late mother’s wishes, but it all had been an uphill battle. Their house was flooded last year after the pipes burst during a major winter storm. The damage to their attic, walls and floors was extensive. Only their mother’s dining table was left unscathed.

Jaylan struggled to keep it together, trying desperately to keep their heads above water, literally and metaphorically.

And just when Jaylan thought things couldn’t get any worse, the contractor he hired to do the repairs on the house took off with about $20,000 of their money, and even their air-conditioner! 

The brothers overwhelmed with emotions while recalling mom's memories

He reported the contractor the authorities, but the contractor disappeared in the wind. Sadly, their home insurance that would’ve covered the damage and repairs had already lapsed. He didn’t have a choice but to try and make their house as livable as possible.  

It was a huge task and he already had many things to do. There wasn’t enough money to make even the smallest repairs.

If they moved to their grandmother’s house, Julian would need to transfer schools. But they wanted to stay in the house that their parents had left for them. 

Jaylan owed his mother this debt of appreciation. Jaylan wanted his little brother to make memories and play football at the same school Jaylan attended.

Katy Responds, a non-profit organization comes to their rescue

“I want to make sure he doesn’t get in any trouble and that things can be smooth as possible for him in school,” Jaylan added.

Jaylan was responsible for Julian and the house, so he knew he had to make sacrifices in order to make it work. He dropped out of college.

As Julian’s big brother, he wanted him to feel loved and cared for, even if their lives from then on would never be the same again. 

As much as he wanted to repair their damaged family home, Jaylan didn’t know where to start and how he would pay for it. All he knew was that he couldn’t give up on it. 

Young Julian crying

But angels can walk on Earth. In this case, they’re from Katy Responds, a non-profit organization that helps rebuild homes damaged by natural disasters through volunteer work and donations. 

Volunteers Michelle and Kevin Duty couldn’t believe what Jaylan Gray from Katy, Texas, had experienced with his contractor.

It broke their hearts to learn that Jaylan was required to assume so much responsibility at such an early age. Ron Peters, their executive director, was brought in to help. 

Ron didn’t hesitate for one minute. After inspecting the extent of damage to the house he immediately took action and enlisted help from several volunteers. 

The two brothers getting a tour of their newly renovated house

Ron and his volunteers saw the holes in the walls, the ruined floors and furniture and knew that they had a lot of work ahead of them.

They removed all the damaged furniture, repaired and replaced the drywall, rewired the plumbing and painted the house. Their goal was for the house to be ready by the start of school. 

The house was finally completed after three long months. Jaylan and Julian couldn’t believe their eyes when they entered their home. The overwhelming joy brought them to their knees. 

Jaylan said it was more than what he had ever imagined. Jaylan was blown away by the kindness of volunteers who went above-and-beyond.  

Grateful brothers helped by Katy Responds
Courtesy Katy Responds

As for Julian, the young boy couldn’t hold back his tears as he witnessed firsthand the kindness of his community.

He felt more confident that there were still good people, despite the negative experience with their contractor. He didn’t think that anything good would happen to them after that. 

Jaylan Gray, Katy, Texas was at that time in his life when it was time to leave the house. But miracles did occur.

He now has more hope for the future. He still dreams about going back to college and becoming an American park ranger. But until then, he’s happy to take care of Julian and make sure that he’ll have a better future. 

A brother who is selfless and courageous will do anything for his little sister. Jaylan and Julian are definitely brothers who will have each other’s backs for life.

For more information, please see the video below.

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