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Community Helps Family Save Home from Foreclosure

Medical expenses pushed the family of an 8-year-old boy mauled by a dog to the brink, and they were facing foreclosure on their home. But now the Martin family has enjoyed an incredible outpouring of community support.

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LINDEN, N.C. — Terry Martin was exhausted but happy on Tuesday. People continued arriving at his Cumberland County home to offer gifts of cash, and he received call after call from people wanting to help.

Martin said he’s overwhelmed, but in a good way. A day earlier, Martin thought he would lose the house after falling more than $7,000 behind in his mortgage payments.

His son Lawrence, who turns 9 next month, was mauled by a dog at his babysitter's house on Jan. 18, 2006. Terry Martin and his wife Jamie said they still have about $12,000 in outstanding medical expenses.

But people heard about his family's plight, and they responded.

Ann Locklear is a real-estate agent who got in touch with the family. Now, a Fayetteville church is sending a cashier's check to the mortgage lender to wipe out the $7,000 debt.

"Sometimes we go through trials, and we don't know why at that time,” Locklear said. “But when you can turn around and help someone straighten out a situation, it really, really makes you feel good."

Also, a company that has chosen to remain anonymous has agreed to pay the Martins' mortgage bills for the next year.

Support has come not only from cash contributions and mortgage payments, but from a man who wanted to buy the family groceries at the neighborhood Food Lion. David Dawkins of Stedman said it was the least he could do for the family.

"I have three kids of my own, and I would just hope that if something like this ever happened to one of my kids and left us in that kind of financial strain, that somebody would step up and help out,” Dawkins said.

Lawrence and Jamie Martin piled up on groceries together. The Martins said the community's generosity has eased their strain.

"I thank them from the bottom of my heart,” Terry Martin said. “If it weren't for them, we wouldn't have a chance."


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