LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A local family whose tragic story has inspired others is now being rewarded for their efforts. It's been just more than a year since Alex Brown died in a car accident on her way to school.
Investigators say she was texting at the time. Her story inspired the Buckle Up, Stop Texting campaign.
Tuesday, the Brown family got a surprise; the promise of a brand new house from the popular television show "extreme makeover home edition".
It's been such an emotional year for the Brown family. On Tuesday, you could see the joy on their face as they packed up their things and said goodbye to their home. They told us, they hope their new house will allow them to continue to share Alex's story across the nation.
As soon as you enter Wellman city limits you're greeted with a different kind of welcome sign. Drive now, text later. That's the same message the family wants to spread to everyone after their daughter's accident.
"We have to put that truck on a trailer and go to schools and tell the people about the dangers of texting and driving," said Alex's father Johnnie Mac. "We didn't know it was going to be like this."
"Instead of sitting back and taking their grief, they did the right thing," said friend and neighbor Pat Bennett.
Wellman has around 300 people. The town almost doubled in size when more than 100 people from the TV show came to surprise the family with the announcement. "When we first found out we were in the running for this I was sad. I didn't want to let go of my house because I had so many fond memories with Alex there," said her sister Katrina.
Like they've done so often the past year, the family is giving back by donating their old house."Our home isn't great, but its livable and if it can bless another family that's what we want," said Jeanne Brown, Alex's mother.
"If Alex were here and seeing all this she would be really excited for us," said Katrina.
More than 1600 people have volunteered to be a part of building the new home. Lisa Gersbach goes to church with the family and says their efforts are always centered on others. "It's about saving lives for them; it's not about the house, they know they have all they need," Gersbach said.
Jeanne says the next step for Alex's message is beyond the Lone Star state."We would like to go nationwide because problems are not just here in Texas but across the nation."
The Browns will fly to New York City until their home is ready. We asked Katrina what she wants to see from the new home. "In this new house, I want to see life, I want to see family and hopes and dreams. Because that's what this is made of."
The house should be completed next week.
B.U.S.T. Pledge Form - Buckle Up & Stop Texting
If you want to pledge to wear your seatbelt and not text while you drive, print out the B.U.S.T. Pledge form here.
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