Family mobilizes to help its own

first_img Shea Shafer, a sales training manager for Galpin Motors is a parishioner. Shafer said the company’s mission is to actively help out in the community and he wanted to make sure the hurricane survivors got the most car for the least money. The church gave about $2,500 in total to the family. Worshippers also donated furniture, food, blankets, clothing and other items. “It is one of the things that helps you go to sleep pleasant at night, knowing you’ve done some good. It makes you feel more human,” said Ray Broderick, St. Clare’s business manager. When Dennis Justin, known as D.J., and family first arrived, they stayed with Robinson and her husband, Art, for a few weeks. They have since moved to the Saugus home of Robinson’s son Chuck, his wife, Kathleen, and daughters Xylina, 17, Tonya, 21, and Linsie, 24. Kathleen observed that the survivors’ spirits are good. “Maybe part of it is because they’re so young,” she said. Christine played a home video shot through an open car window after the waters subsided – animated with a bobbing blue plastic dolphin suspended from the rearview mirror – as Linsie played peek-a-boo with Jessica. Xylina cradled a rosy-cheeked finger-sucking Allie. On the screen, a cockeyed boat is docked on a roadway median three miles from shore, long lines of cars snake through shopping center parking lots idling in gas lines. Weary residents pile the contents of their black-mold encrusted homes by the curb for the next trash pickup. “We left with two suitcases, one with adult clothes, one with kids’ clothes and some toys,” Christine said. They could bring only what was allowed on the plane. She remembers how FEMA delivered campers outside peoples’ homes so they would not have to venture far, but the agency forgot one thing. “They forgot to leave the keys,” she said. “The people had to camp out in tent city.” The family’s mini Doberman pinscher Wrangler, who shuns strangers, shadows golden-haired Jessica. Temporarily distracted by the TV image, Jessica said “home.” Christine said that since the disaster the child wakes up in the middle of the night, screaming. Xylina’s boyfriend is a link for another deal offered the newcomers. The young man’s father owns John Murray Plumbing. Murray has hired D.J. as a plumbing apprentice, and within the next month the family will occupy a rental property he owns in Canyon Country. Downs had worked as a marine surveyor for SGS at the Chevron-Texaco refinery back home, and later, as a security guard. He had racked up 1 years experience working for a plumbing company, he said. He said the work is pretty much the same here, but there are more rocks in the soil. “Digging the roots takes my mind off being back home,” he said. Murray was out of town, but brother Mike, a supervisor in the plumbing company, said the new hire is a good worker. “The feedback’s been great,” he said. “He’s a hard worker and seems to have a good head on his shoulders.” The church has paid first and last month’s rental for the unit. The Los Angeles Police Department Mission detectives division contributed money and clothing on behalf of colleague Holly Robinson, who is Anna May’s daughter. “The people who work here did a collection and raised $330, and they gave clothing, toys, shoes and baby accessories,” Holly Robinson said. Santa Clarita Little People Daycare and Preschool has adopted the family, on behalf of Holly’s son, who attends the facility. D.J. and Christine are homesick, and though they appreciate what caring people have done to right their lives, they are not sure California will become home. “We’re just going to play it by ear,” D.J. said. “Right now, it’s nice. We’ll stay at least a year.” So far they have not ventured out of Santa Clarita, but D.J. wants to take Christine to Universal CityWalk, which he saw five years ago when he vacationed with his mom. The little family lives in Aunt Kathleen’s open air den, and the prospect of emptying the storage locker that holds many of their new possessions and moving into their own space is tantalizing. “Every once in a while I can’t believe I’m in California,” D.J. said. “As soon as we get (settled,) hopefully well get back to a (normal) life.” He laments the high price of one of his favorite foods: shrimp. Back home it costs $1.89 a pound, versus the $5.00 he finds here. Grandma Robinson, a retired teacher in the William S. Hart Union High School District, hopes they will stay. “It’s like going to camp, (with the feelings of) homesickness, (where you say) ‘I don’t know if I can do this,” she said, with fingers crossed. “If they could adapt enough to the culture, it’s better here, there are more opportunities.” Judy O’Rourke, (661) 257-5255 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Enter Team Robinson. After striking out with city and federal officials, Anna May Robinson turned to family, friends and her church. Immediate family begins with her 10 children, most of whom live in California. Robinson could have used a spread sheet to document the avalanche of aid. Robinson’s daughter Nanette Hendrickson did not have to ask her longtime pals from the Canyon High School cheerleader squad of 1975 for help; they just came forward. Tickets to fly the family to California on Delta Airlines were provided by one of the women, who works for the company. Another woman delivered a check and clothing to Robinson’s door. St. Clare Catholic Church in Canyon Country earmarked $6,500 from its relief fund fueled by an annual fish fry and barbecue to obtain a 2002 four-door Kia Rio that had been driven less than 50,000 miles. SANTA CLARITA – The beleaguered Federal Emergency Management Agency could learn a thing or two from the nimble Robinson family, whose matriarch operates out of her home base in Canyon Country. After Hurricane Katrina struck, the extended clan mobilized to resettle four young family members from Pascagoula, Miss., to Santa Clarita. “We have a big family, 45 first cousins in their 30s, 40s, 50s who all keep in contact,” said Anna May Robinson. “They immediately got in contact with me and said ‘What can we do?’ At least half responded with assistance.” D.J. Downs, 20, wife Christine Thompson, 19, and their daughters, Jessica, 2, and Allie, 2 months, had been living with Christine’s mom. They gave up their living quarters to relatives who were wiped out by the disaster and could not afford to leave secure jobs in the area. last_img read more

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