-- A Nebraska man who started a movement to "adopt" families in hurricane-ravaged communities flew to the Florida Keys to meet the family he sponsored, surprising them with holiday gifts and much-needed supplies.
John Lewis, a state trooper from Waverly, Nebraska, told ABC News he was inspired to help after watching a "Good Morning America" segment that spotlighted how communities are rebuilding in the aftermath of hurricanes.
"My daughter wants to go home. She asks me at least every other day, 'Mommy, when are we going home?'" Bass told ABC News' Rob Marciano shortly after the storm. "It's not fair, and I'm not the only one going through this."
Bass told ABC News that shortly after her emotional plea aired on TV, a stranger reached out to her and offered to help.
"John Lewis reached out to me via Facebook and wanted to adopt my family for the holidays," Bass said.
In addition to helping out her family, Bass said Lewis was "taking it to another level," by connecting other families in his neighborhood with families in need in her community.
"He is getting families in his neighborhood to adopt teachers and families here at Sugarloaf School," she added, referring to the school where she works, which opened its doors to the community in the aftermath of the storm, housing a day care and becoming a makeshift distribution center.
Bass added that she wanted to thank Lewis for his generosity in person one day, saying, "I hope someday that I can hug his neck in person and really express my gratitude face to face."
Lewis's grassroots movement eventually became known as "America's Neighbors," and it aims to connect families in storm-ravaged communities directly with families in other parts of the country who have offered to "adopt" or support them as they work to rebuild.
"It’s not just Theresa’s family that is affected," Lewis said. "So why not let her make contact with those around her, and I’ll do the same and we will put it all together?"
Lewis and Bass banded together after he reached out to her and together they worked to build a network of support -- so far helping out 14 families in need in the Florida Keys.
Lewis and his wife also decided to fly over 1,700 miles from their home in Nebraska to the Florida Keys in order to hand-deliver their gifts to Bass and meet with the other families his organization supported.
Earlier this month, Marciano introduced Lewis and his wife to the teachers at the Sugarloaf School, where Lewis and Bass finally hugged for the first time during an emotional meeting.
Harry Russell, the principal of the Sugarloaf School, told ABC News that his community is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from across the country.
"The resources coming in from all over ... is absolutely amazing and overwhelming at the same time," he said.
Bass said that being a part of the America's Neighbors program and helping out other families in need has also helped her to heal.
"To not only be a recipient but to be able to pay it forward and help everyone else," Bass said. "For me, it’s been a big part of my own healing process."
She added that she believes she will be friends with the Lewises "for a very long time."
"They are not just a family that has adopted us," she added. "I look forward to fostering and growing that friendship and it means so much."
Lewis and Bass both said they hope to continue the work they have begun with America's Neighbors and help others impacted by natural disasters in the new year.
"I was just this guy with an idea to adopt a family, and it spread to neighbors adopting neighbors, in other towns and we will see where it goes," Lewis said.