Kaufman family returns home with son thanks to community's help



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Posted on January 2, 2013 at 12:12 AM

KAUFMAN -- The Hamrick family said they feel very blessed to celebrate this holiday season together.

“Our home is one now. It's not missing something… it's not missing someone,” Michelle Hamrick said.

After our initial story about the family in early December, many viewers have been asking about an update.

When News 8 arrived at the Hamricks' home Tuesday, they were having game night. Family members sat around a living room table, taking turns playing Jenga. Earlier this year, the game was missing one of its best players; a four-year-old in a cowboy hat named Austin Hamrick.

“He never knew what normal was, until now,” said dad, Drew Hamrick.

Austin was born with a heart defect. It would take seven open-heart surgeries and one heart transplant to help this very brave cowboy.

“I think he's realizing he's feeling much better," his mom said. "He never got to feel that his entire life."

The family is just now picking up the pieces, too. They learned early last year their home had too much mold and mildew to let Austin stay. It was the community that picked them up then.

“I'm thankful for everything," Michelle Hamrick said. "I just can't stop saying thank you to everybody."

Volunteers and donated things helped put the home back together. New air ducts and new air filters are just a sample of what is now new in the Hamrick home.

Drew told us pretty much everything but the framework is new.

“It puts a big happiness and joy in your heart when you get that news that you can go home and be a family again,” the father said.

And that news came right before Christmas -- a much better gift than the 30 or so gifts piled up in the hallway. Mom and dad are just happy to see Austin back home, and back wearing his cowboy hat again.

“He wears his hat pretty much until he goes to bed," his dad said. "The hat is pretty much Austin."

Austin still goes in for check-ups twice a week. The Hamrick’s try to limit trips outside of the home, aside from hospital visits.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com