Family of 22 Stays Together Through Long Journey to Lubbock - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/5/05

Family of 22 Stays Together Through Long Journey to Lubbock

NewsChannel 11 took a tour of the T-1 Hangar out at Reese Center to visit hundreds of families all rescued from New Orleans. The families discussed how they got to Lubbock, and the things they had to leave behind. But we met one family who, through it all, has been able to stay together, all 22 of them.

"This is a size seven." A perfect fit for seven year old Niecie. "This is the skirt and this is the shirt." Niecie and her three siblings got to Lubbock on the first flight that came in on Sunday, but it was a long road to get to safety.

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Niecie's father Desmond Bemmiss described the scene when they left. "My house had ample supplies, but every night there was gun fire and people trying to break into the house to see what you had. It was time to get my family and my in-laws out." That's when the Bemmiss family, along with 22 other family members, sought refuge in the Superdome. But once again, the conditions were too unsafe for their children. Linda Bemmiss said, "you had to walk to the bathroom with a weapon with your children, that was terrible."

Desmond worked in New Orleans as a chief engineer for time shares. It was supposed to be a time for celebration, as his wife Linda became pregnant just over a month ago, but instead, the family is focusing on what will happen now. Desmond said, "we'll keep on a happy face. We don't have a house, nothing. I've got to be strong for them. It's devastating."

But with every bed there's a different story. Each of these people share in loss and grief, but some say here in Lubbock, they might have found a new home.

Desmond and his family love Lubbock. "We thought everybody forgot us and left us here. But it's great. It's the best city I've ever been in." Desmond says their first plan is to get the kids in school, and then find housing and jobs, but until then, the Bemmiss family is grateful to have each other, and a safe place to call a temporary home.

The Bemmiss family also said they were supposed to celebrate their grandparents 50th wedding anniversary, but unfortunately, their grandparents have been separated from each other through the rescue.

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