Community rallies behind Texas brothers who lost their mother and home

·2 min read

The last few years have been difficult for almost everyone. But after two brothers lost their mother and their home, their Texas community rallied to support them when they needed it most.  

Two years ago, Jaylan Gray was in college pursuing his dream of becoming a park ranger. But when his mother died, he had to quit school and leave that dream behind to take care of his younger brother.

"It's not really a good feeling, giving up, at all," the 22-year-old told CBS News.

Today, Jaylan's sole priority is his 12-year-old brother Julian, who he describes as his "reason" since their mother's death.

"From that day on, I swore — at all costs — I'm protecting him," Jaylan said.

But then, things got worse. When a major freeze hit Texas last year, the pipes burst in the brothers' home — the one their mother had left them — and ruined everything. Then, a contractor Jaylan hired to fix it took their life savings and ran off.

"Yeah, I was basically defeated," Jaylan said. "I didn't know where to go."

The boys were living with their last surviving close relative when a non-profit called Katy Responds caught wind of their situation.

The group fixes up houses after natural disasters.  Over the years, they've helped more than a hundred families — but few were more worthy than those boys.

"Yeah, it breaks your heart," said executive director Ron Peters.

"They had no idea people would want to jump in and help them," Peters added — which may have explained their jaw-dropping, speechless reactions when they walked into their new home.

"I was overwhelmed," Jaylan said.

The brothers walk into their renovated home for the first time.  / Credit: CBS News
The brothers walk into their renovated home for the first time. / Credit: CBS News

Thanks to an army of donors and volunteers, the brothers were finally and forever back in their mother's house on August 12. It's fully renovated and better than ever.

"What they did for us is priceless," Jaylan said after he moved back into the home.

"There's just so many nice people in this room right now, and it makes me so happy," Julian added.

When their mother died, Julian and Jaylan thought all they had was each other.  But they were wrong — they had a whole community.

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