Local News

Son's accident moves Sanford woman to help tornado victims

Posted April 25, 2011 10:15 p.m. EDT
Updated April 25, 2011 11:28 p.m. EDT

— When a Sanford woman's 5-year-old son fell down an elevator shaft and nearly died last year, she says her community rallied around her and helped take care of her family's needs.

Now she's giving back.

Alicia Hamilton and her friend Samantha Michael started Matt 6, named after a Bible passage about giving freely without seeking praise or admiration, to help families affected by last week's tornado.

"We don't want glory. We don't want the praise. We kind of established Matt 6 so that everybody could work together," Hamilton said.

The storm wrenched through Sanford last Saturday, devastating neighborhoods and leveling the Lowe's Home Improvement store on Horner Boulevard. Shredded ceilings and walls, cars flipped in the parking lot and debris cascading from where the large warehouse once stood became an iconic portrait of destruction in Lee County, one of the hardest hit areas of the state.

Against that backdrop, Matt 6 is raking in truck loads of food, water, toiletries, clothing and furniture to help tornado victims.

"I think we have served many. I think there's many more to serve," Hamilton said.

Michael added that the community has come through with enormous numbers of donations and has rushed to provide whatever Matt 6 requests.

"Every time something runs out, we put the message on Facebook, and it's here within 30 minutes to an hour," Michael said.

Hamilton said she was inspired by the generous outpouring of support from her community after her son, Fisher, suffered broken bones, a collapsed lung and skull fractures in a 24-foot fall down an elevator shaft at the family's Oak Island beach home. The elevator landed on top of him.

"(The) good people from Sanford, my friends, took care of every need that we had," Hamilton said.

Rescuers said the boy's heart stopped three times during the helicopter ride to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

But Fisher made what Hamilton calls a miraculous recovery.

"On the seventh day, he left the hospital without any sutures, without any surgery, without anything," Hamilton said.

To repay the miracle she received last spring, Hamilton said, Matt 6's work is far from over.

The group hopes to provide storm-affected families with gift cards, which will give them flexibility to buy groceries, gas and other essentials. To donate, visit the Matt 6 website.