Neighbors Come Together In Morgan Mill, Texas

Morgan Mill, Texas rallies to help Brandi Todd, paralyzed after violent attack.

April 08, 2010, 3:41 PM

April 8, 2010— -- Brandi Todd was watching her children play in a park near her home in Morgan Mill, Texas, when a random act of violence changed her life.

Unimaginably, while she was sitting on a park bench on a Sunday afternoon last month, a mentally unstable man who lived nearby, a stranger, walked up behind her and stabbed her.

The wound severed her spinal cord, paralyzing her from the waist down.

Most of us, in the wake of something so random and so awful would break. But the first thing Todd did was forgive her attacker.

"You have to be responsible for what you do but he needed help and nobody helped him for whatever reason," she says.

She has a lot of support. An entire town's worth to be exact. And they don't believe in just sending sympathy.

"This community is like no other that I've ever known," said one woman. "When there is a cause to support, we rally around and we get it done."

Todd has no health insurance, but several doctors are donating their services for free.

And while Todd, 28, has been recovering in a hospital, her neighbors have been hard at work, rebuilding her entire home so that it is wheelchair accessible.

"It's just more important than anything else we've got going on," said contractor James Starnes.

Like many members of this small town, Starnes has known Todd her entire life.

"She's going home in a week-and-a-half," said Roger Behymer, the project organizer. "She's got to have a place to live, so we've got to do what we've got to do."

Using their own time and money, they have ripped out the doors and widened them, raised the floors and added a big, new bathroom, all to make it a little easier for Todd when she gets home.

A group from the local Methodist church poured a new driveway

One neighbor is even installing a remote control hoist he invented.

"When something horrible happens to people who don't deserve it, you want to do something for them...make the world a little better," said Behymer.

All this in a town of only 300, with three churches, no stoplights and only one place to eat...the general store.

"For what she's been through, it's the least we can do for her," said Tracy Hedeman, one of Todd's friends.

A Tiny Town with a Big Heart

Todd has yet to see the house, but she's heard what her town has done.

"I never in a million years would have imagined that people have such big hearts," she says. "And it helps me every day to hear from people and know that people care about what happens to a mother of two from a small town."

Like Brandi's favorite hymn "It is well with my soul"--"When sorrows roll, it is well within my soul..."

No thanks in part to the people who prove a tiny town can be a universe of heart.

Said Starnes, "It's just what we do."

Special thanks to to WFAA and reporter Jim Douglas for their help on this piece.

For more information on Todd and how to help click here.

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