DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – From thoughts and prayers to fresh paint and new hope.
The family of Rory Norman, the Dallas toddler killed when a gunman sprayed their home with bullets last month is getting lots of community support as they work to move forward.READ MORE: Disney Closing Dozens Of Stores In The US And Canada This Year
“It’s been hard,” says Rory’s uncle, Jaylon Miller. ” Death is just not really a thing that you imagine when you’re 20 years old or especially at one years old.”
Miller was shot five times in the attack. And yet he is not bitter, insisting that he is blessed just to be alive, and holding it all together.
“We’ve just been through a lot and we’ve been trying to get our lives back on a normal path,” says the UNT Dallas student working toward a degree in Information Technology.
Miller has been staying in a dorm on campus, but his family has been living in a hotel since the attack.
So classmates and others from his UNT Dallas community and others in the neighborhood gathered to help the family start fresh on Tuesday.
“The quicker we can get them all back in here, brand new stuff, paint, carpet, cleaning everything, and they can start re-living with peace,” says Melawn Dineen, who helped organize the effort.
Dineen is a Marine Corps veteran and also pulled in support from the school’s Veterans Success Center.
She says as a mother she was touched by the loss, and as a veteran was moved to do more to help a veteran’s family.
“Really, it’s just God moving in the community. That’s what it is,” she said.READ MORE: Baby Of Innocent Bystander Critically Injured In Texas Police Shooting
Family members say they will never forget the horror of what happened and they considered moving, but the red brick home is more than a crime scene to them.
It is their home.
They say they will fight to reclaim it and also to begin life anew.
“It’s a blessing. God sent,” says Miller’s stepfather and Army veteran Cecil Thomas. “I love my family and all I ever think about is trying to help us get back together. “
So along with the major clean up Miller wants to also clear the air.
“I’ve never been in a gang, I don’t go out and party, I just don’t do those things,” says Miller while stressing that he did nothing to become a gunman’s target. “And to be quite frank, I don’t believe anybody in my family brung this. I still have faith that we love each other too much not to put each other in harm’s way.”
Police so far have not made any arrests in the case.
Miller, meanwhile is hoping for justice for Rory even while offering compassion for his killer.
“I still hope he gets his life right and turns to God,” says Miller. “And even though we’ve had a tragic and broken heart experience, it will be healed with this and the love we’ve received from people.”
The repairs are planned in three phases with volunteers looking to also spruce up the home’s exterior. They’re hoping the family can be back home by the end of the month.MORE NEWS: SpaceX Starship Flips & Lands In Texas Upright, But Then Explodes On Landing Pad
Anyone interested in donating supplies or lending a hand can email UNTD-Advancement@untdallas.edu.