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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Local woman, disabled children lose home due to storms

Local woman, disabled children lose home due to storms

If you’ve ever shopped at Wal-Mart in Galliano, you may have met Ms. Hilda Ross. The 72-year-old woman, who has been with the company for nearly 20 years, is known for her friendly demeanor.

Hilda has worked in just about every department over the past 19 years. Her managers know they can always depend on her to be at work and in good spirits.

Last week, her co-workers never expected she’d show up on her scheduled shift after the catastrophe that took place at her home the day before.

In the wee morning hours on December 28, a storm blew through Larose and the winds, possibly a small twister, blew the roof off of the home she shares with her two disabled adult children.

“I woke up around 6 a.m. and noticed water pouring into the kitchen from the ceiling. I thought it was just raining really hard and it was starting to leak through. I planned on mopping it up and going about my business,” Hilda said.

At that point, the interior ceiling tiles had not started to collapse. Shortly after, the tiles began to fall and Hilda realized that there was a much bigger problem. The roof of her trailer was peeled back like a can of sardines. 911 was called and firemen and policemen showed up just as the tiles began to collapse.

Authorities condemned the structure due to the vast amount of damage, leaving Hilda and her two children homeless.

Hilda, who is widowed, has lived in Larose for the past 32 years. Her family is all in the Baton Rouge area. Her eldest son died of a heart attack at age 51, two years ago. He helped Hilda to care for Jason, who has severe cerebral palsy, and her youngest daughter Jessica, 31, who has downs syndrome.

Now Hilda depends on a sitter to care for her children while she is at work. Jason has to be lifted and moved out of his wheel chair to toilet, get into and out of bed and to be bathed.

“Not just anyone can help me with him because lifting a full grown man is not easy. I’m used to it because I’ve cared for him all his life,” she said. “Many people know him from the local telethon. He always participates in it.”

After her home was deemed unfit, Hilda’s sister contacted Red Cross in hopes of getting assistance. She was given a stipend to use for temporary housing. She is staying at a local hotel in Galliano through January 10. After that, she’s not sure what she and her children will do.

Our neighbors have been amazing. They helped us out monetarily because the Red Cross funds only covered a portion of the hotel fee. They helped to cover the rest. Friends and a state agency have also helped with the cost of the hotel through January 10.

“This has been a really tragic situation but the love and support I’ve received from our friends, my co-workers and the community has truly been overwhelming. Everyone has been such a blessing to us through this ordeal,” Hilda said.

The woman known for being such a kind heart to customers and friends alike has not had an easy life.

In 1966, she was hit by a drunk driver and had to undergo 52 surgeries. She has limited vision in one eye due to the accident. Her husband passed away when her daughter was 8 years old and she was then forced to raise her children alone.

Prior to the house being destroyed, Hilda was on the search for a newer van with a lift so she could transport her son. She currently drives a 1998 van with a lift that has been giving her trouble.

“We make it through whatever life gives us. I’m able to continue working and am at home in the Garden Center at Wal-Mart, a place that I love,” she said. “To think that so many people have stepped up to help us during this time is just unreal. I do not have words enough to express my gratitude.”

Friends and family members have set up a bank account at Whitney Bank where people can donate funds to help Hilda and her children. A Go Fund Me account has also been set up and has garnered nearly $9,500 in donations.

To donate to Hilda and her children, visit or drop by any Whitney Bank and ask to donate to the Hilda Ross account.