Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
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One month after a truck smashed into Thelma Hines' home as the driver was shot and killed, boards temporarily cover the holes.

'The truck came through there two feet from me,' she said. 'I thought that was a tornado coming through, really, because it sounded like a train.'

'Had the truck hit 24 inches over, it would have hit her in her bed,' said carpenter Payne Diez. 'It was a miracle.'

Payne Diez manages the Volunteers of America Repairs On Wheels program, and he assessed the damage to get it repaired.

'There is some structural damage, although it is minor structural damage, the wall plate was obstructed on the corner of the house, as well as down the hall, in the bedroom,' Diez said. 'She's got water pipe damage. She also has brick damage to the exterior of the house, the two front doors of the house are damaged.'

'I think he was a great person, because he went through, and he saw some things I hadn't even seen,' said Thelma.

The Volunteers of America Repairs on Wheels program is ready to help, but they face a major problem. They need help, funding help, to get this work done.

'It'll be approximately $8000 to repair Ms. Thelma's house,' said Volunteers Of America's Donna Betzer. 'We don't have a grant to work in Orleans Parish, so we're really looking for the community to come together to donate towards that effort.'

Offers to help the former nurse who is now living on disability began coming in after the first Action Report.

'I've sent all their information to our volunteer coordinator so that they can work with them,' said Betzer.

'It means so much,' said Thelma. 'It means that I meant something, I touched some people's lives.'

'Makes us all feel really good that we can help,' said Payne Diez.

To help Thelma, you'll find the 'Friends Of Thelma' fund on the Volunteers of America website at, or call the agency at 504-482-2130.

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