Community remodels 93-year-old’s home ahead of the holidays

BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33)(FOX 44)- A house is never really a home, without the people that make it special. Ozalee Johnson, 93, has been missing that special something for some time now.

“No one in this neighborhood did nothing for me,” Johnson said.

Ozalee Johnson sits by a stand-alone heater in her house while crews clean.

Johnson’s lived in her house since the 70s. Similar to her, the house has gone through its share of aging and change. But the eventual wear and tear took a toll on the house. The floors caved in, the electricity failed, and the heat doesn’t always work.

Johnson says the house, even in its poor condition, is still worth living in.

“God gave me this house,” Johnson says. “I’ve been here all these years.”

She stayed in the house with no complaints or help from anyone, until one day she couldn’t. She swallowed her pride and called the Baton Rouge Police Department. She was transferred to Kyle Callihan.

“I got a call. Ma’am what seems to be your problem,” Callihan asked. “And she says well I’m hungry and the police help people. So can you find me some food?”

Johnson was down to her last can of beans when she called BRPD. When Callihan came with his box of food, he realized the problem was bigger than hunger.

Thursday Dec. 19, the first day of cleanup.

Community members came together to clear out the floors, clean out the house, and remodel it while Johnson sits comfortably watching her home transform.

EBR Councilman, Matt Watson says meeting Johnson in person, made him want to work even harder to repair the house.

“Given the fact that there are such wonderful folks and we’ve built a relationship with her and her son. We’ve been able to come in and do this work.” Watson says.
The house will take some time to complete, but for Johnson, she’s finally found the group to give her house that special something.

“God sent these people to help me,” Johnson said. “And I’m so thankful.”

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