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Raleigh Couple, Contractor Overwhelmed With Public Support

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A Raleigh couple has been overwhelmed by the public's response to their situation. The pair lost their home to fire, then lost thousands of dollars to a contractor who did not do the repair work he promised, all while they battled a life-threatening illness.

Contractor Mike Miller said he has been flooded with calls from people who want to help build George and Juanita Harris a new home.

In May 2001, fire badly damaged the home where the Harrises had lived for more than 30 years. With Juanita already battling cancer, the tragedy compounded when they paid a contractor $15,000 to do work that was not completed.

"It hit me. Everybody was talking about tears in their eyes. I [knew I] probably had them when I was listening to some of those messages. It was great," Miller said.

The offers of help have ranged from construction supply companies saying "whatever is needed, just take it" to a 98-year-old man willing to write a check for any amount. Miller said he plans to build the Harrises a bigger and better home and hopefully use as little of their insurance money as possible.

Tony Anderson, the contractor accused of taking the Harris' money, has a criminal history of drugs and failing to pay child support. The Harrises say they plan to file charges against him.

A trust fund has been established for the Harrises. You can make your donations at any BB&T branch in care of George and Juanita Harris.

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Cullen Browder, Reporter
Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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