ROBERT, La. -- The Jenkins family gathered around their Christmas tree on Sunday morning just like millions of families across the world, but months ago Christmas seemed like it might not come this year.
Devastating floods in Southern Louisiana swept through their home, destroying everything, not once, but twice.
“When it first flooded we were thinking we may be out of our house for six months, we may be out of our house for a year” Laurence Jenkins said. “We may just walk away and never come back.”
But they did come back. Working 16-to-20 hours a day with the help of friends and volunteers, the Jenkins rebuilt.
But just as his family moved back in, Laurence Jenkins found himself in a hospital bed with Meningitis.
“For a month, I couldn’t walk 50 feet without being out of breath,” he said. “After about 2 months I started recovering.”
Then tragedy struck a third time as historic flooding inundated their home again in August.
"The water was actually over the swimming pool, Jenkins said. “We actually drove a Bass boat over the top of the swimming pool."
And again they rebuilt. Nearly 8 months after they were first forced from their home, just before Thanksgiving, they moved back in.
It was a real blessing,” Jenkins said. “The kids got to wake up, run around on floors, eat a nice breakfast, open up some presents."
But even after losing everything, the kids’ wish lists were short. Instead of replacing what they’d lost, Jenkins’ children told him they’d rather help the homeless.
“They met a homeless man and they decided to take their money and go buy a homeless man a bike instead of getting themselves something,” he said.
Through everything, they never lost their Christmas spirit.