Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
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'I pray all day, I sit out there on that swing, asking God to help me,' said Gladys Willis.

Willis prays a lot on her front porch, enduring the tough times. She sits with her surviving son, remembering his two brothers who were murdered: one after cashing a paycheck, the other visiting a girlfriend.

'I lost one at 19, and one at 22, lucky I still have this one,' said Gladys.

Gladys is diabetic, and both legs were amputated when she waded through the Katrina flood. Her feet got infected, and the doctor had to act. 'Gangrene done set in. I said, 'My God.' He said I got to take both of them legs off.'

Her latest troubles occurred when the 30-year old roof on her housefailed, and the kitchen ceiling collapsed during Hurricane Isaac.

'It was a disaster. If I'd have been in there, I'd have been dead, because I couldn't get out.'

Now water stains mark her bedroom ceiling, a warning it could fall. But Michael Collins, who owns The Other Bar, is also a contractor, and he is replacing the roof.

'I said we can't wait until September to do this,' explainedCollins. 'We need to fix this roof immediately. Let's get the fundraiser going, but we can start on the process to get the roof fixed.'

Work to replace the roof is set to start Tuesday, and when it is finished, Charlie Barnes is organizing some of his fellow Americorps alumni to repair the ceilings for Gladys.

'What went through my mind is that I am not in good conscience going to allow the ceiling to collapse on an elderly lady in Miss Willis' condition,' said Barnes. 'If my Nanna were alive, she would be about her age and I wasn't going to let that happen.'

'Like Christmas time, because I haven't had a present in years,' said Gladys. 'This is like everything.'

Donations to cover the costs of the new roof for Gladys are being coordinated through Trinity Christian Community. They can be reached at 482-7822, or visit their website at

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