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Christmas came early for family who lost belongings in storage unit fire

Posted at 6:19 PM, Dec 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-24 21:27:43-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Christmas came early for one local family who lost everything during a storage-unit fire last week, thanks to a generous donation from another local family.

Last Monday, KRIS 6 News reported about a fire at the U-Haul storage unit facility near the corner of Kostoryz Road and SPID that began around 2:30 p.m.

It took hours to put the three-alarm fire out, and many peoples' belongings couldn't be saved.

The Rodriguez family was one of those whose belongings were damaged. The family of five currently is living at The Salvation Army, and the father is a Navy veteran.

Because they're staying at the shelter, the Rodriguez family had all of its belongings in that storage facility. Last Monday, they got the call that their unit had caught fire.

"I was like 'Oh man, I'm going to have to start from ground zero. It was very hard,' " said Angela Rodriguez, the family's matriarch. "When I found out, I was just like 'No, Lord Jesus, please let that not be true.' "

However, on Tuesday morning, Christmas got a little brighter for the family.

JMA Contracting & Services vice-president Juan Alaniz and his family bought and wrapped dozens of presents for the Rodriguez family.

They replaced many of the Rodriguezes belongings, including a flat-screen television, toys for the kids, and more.

"That was just a blessing for them (the kids) to open all those gifts and see the happiness on their face," said Angela. "That made me happy."

Although the Rodriguez family lost almost everything it owns, the family said everything happens for a reason. Now the family can celebrate its own Christmas miracle by spending time with one another and opening presents.

"This was our first Christmas where I could actually see them open gifts, and see the smiles on their faces," said the family's patriarch Carlos Rodriguez. "It was such a warming feeling."

Alaniz and his family wanted to give back because they were homeless, too, almost a decade ago.

Ten years later, he has his own family of five, with a business. When the Alanizes heard the story of how the Rodriguez lost their belongings, they stepped up to help.

"I was real excited and really emotional because, about nine years ago, we couldn't open any gifts. We struggled also," said Alaniz. "The opportunity for us to give, is beyond measure. I believe to give is better than to receive."

Alaniz is also a Navy veteran, and donated presents to two other families who are staying at the Salvation Army.