GAINESVILLE, GA. - For Tomas Ramirez, Christmas came a little early this year when he was surprised with a year's worth of house payments.
After being interviewed (a fake one used as a set-up by organizers) Tomas Ramirez and his family were ushered into a large room at America’s Home Place in Gainesville.
Photos | House for deserving family
Georgia Wealth Advisors President Tom Lowry sat them down on a plush sofa. Getting down on one knee, Lowry broke the news.
“You've been selected by our family, we're going to pay the mortgage payments for you for a year,” said Lowry to Ramirez.
It was a surprise to the Gainesville man known for giving, until he can’t give anymore.
“He brings in addicts, he brings in homeless, he brings in divorced people, he brings in people who have failure in businesses, who don’t have food, who don’t have clothes,” said Ramirez’s long-time friend and U.S. sponsor Bill Morrison.
Ramirez is a former gang member, turned minister. Up until a month ago, he managed a homeless shelter in Gainesville for 14 years.
“I live on a budget, a real, real tight budget,” he said.
Ramirez’s family of six lived in a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment above the shelter, which sometimes posed as a dangerous threat to his family.
“I always tell my kids, stay upstairs, don’t come down until I tell you to,” he said.
That was a concern for his good friend Morrison. As a result, he purchased a plot of land at a reduced price and built a new home for Ramirez and his family on that lot.
“I felt like we needed to help him,” said Morrison. “This is a person with a family that has needs, because we’re able to, we should. And the Lord led us to.”
When Ramirez moved out of the shelter’s apartment, he and his family had little more than the clothes on their back. The Gainesville Community stepped up and furnished the four bedroom, two bathroom home, complete with granite countertops and laminate wooden floors.
In addition to the years’ worth of house payments, Ramirez also received a $500 Publix Gift Card and $100 gift card for each of his four children.
“It’s our pleasure to do this for you, thank you for all you’ve done,” Lowry said.
Ramirez choked up during the presentation and could barely get the out the words, ‘thank you.’
“This morning me and my family, we wake up and say ‘God bless us today.’ I wasn't expecting these kind of blessings,” Ramirez said afterwards.
But for those who know him, they said it’s a small gesture for a man with such a big heart. Ramirez said this Thanksgiving will be one to remember.
“My plan was to go and get something and put it in the microwave, but now and this? I'm going to get somebody to cook a turkey and we are going to have a happy Thanksgiving,” Ramirez exclaimed.
Morrison said the house would normally rent for about $1,200. But he chopped that price in half for Georgia Wealth Advisors and eventually Ramirez.
In the near future he wants to sell the $120,000 house to Ramirez for $60,000.
Ramirez’s youngest son, Riley, was abandoned by his biological parents six years ago. He’s in the process of being adopted by the only man he knows as ‘dad’.
(© 2017 WXIA)