TRENTON, GA (WRCB) - As the sounds of "We Three Kings" and "12 Days of Christmas" filled the room, the Dade County High School Choir's annual holiday program had extra meaning this year. The Monday night performance to a packed house was in honor of choir member Brandon Middlebrooks and his family.
Last Thursday, Daniel, his sister Emma, and parents Daniel and Sonya barely made it out of their house alive after they were awakened by an early morning fire. The family lost everything, including their two cars parked outside. Daniel is a teacher at Spring Creek Elementary in Hamilton County, while Sonya is a school nurse for several Dade County schools.
Choir director Gabrielle Haston said her students decided to donate all the proceeds from the performance to help the Middlebrooks family. Since the fire, they have had to live in a Chattanooga motel, and according to Daniel, "We've gotten a lot of help from family, friends, our church and even total strangers."
Near the end of Monday's performance, Ms. Haston presented the family with $850 raised from the concert, followed by a surprise: WRCB's David Carroll, described by Ms. Haston as a "secret Santa" bearing some special gifts. Thanks to a donation from North American Credit Services in Chattanooga, David was able to give the Middlebrooks family a one-thousand dollar gift package, including gift cards from area restaurants and stores, in addition to $200 cash.
"We knew about the concert," Brandon Middlebrooks said. "But we didn't see this coming!" He said the additional gifts would bring some holiday cheer to a family that lost everything last week. Sonya Middlebrooks said, "We really feel like we've been blessed. Yes, we lost our home and our possessions, but we all got out safely. Any or all of us could have died if we had waited 30 more seconds to get out. We have each other, and we're very thankful to be alive and to have so many friends."