The Smiths were one of hundreds of Keller Williams families whose lives were upended by Hurricane Harvey. Their home has flooded a total of three times in the last five years. Originally, they weren’t in a flood zone, and both floods in 2016 and 2017 were considered once-in-a-lifetime events. While they have flood insurance, the repair costs far exceed the amount their insurance will pay.

Winona was in the office one day when the assistant team leader asked her if she had applied for a grant from KW Cares. Winona didn’t know she would be able to receive financial assistance to help rebuild, and part of her didn’t want to complete the application. As with most “givers,” she felt others needed help more than they did, and she wasn’t comfortable being on the receiving end. However, when Winona learned that her 78-year-old mother’s insurance company denied her claim to repair water damage caused by Harvey, she finally took steps to learn more about the grant process.

With the encouragement of staff from KW Cares, Winona was able to submit the proper documentation for a grant for her family and help mom submit a grant application as well. In just a short time, both families received grants to help with home repairs and replacement of belongings not covered by their insurance policies.

Winona admits to having moments when she breaks down, but she has an unwavering faith in God, does her best to stay positive and find the blessings, and has the ability to reframe her negative emotions into positive ones. “On the bright side, I am learning so much about what to do in the aftermath of a major disaster, and I’m able to help others with this newfound knowledge.” As a lover of antiques, and having lost many of her beloved treasures, she says, “I now have the opportunity to go antiquing!”

Quote: “To God be the glory for all he has done! Thanks to KW Cares and the board for this grant. Our lives will be forever changed because of your generosity.”

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