Community helps veteran and his kids by giving them a Christmas ‘miracle’

Made For More

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Adventist Health believes this community was made for more; More care. More support. More hope. Adventist Health and KGET want to honor those who make Kern County a better place in which to live.

He’s a military veteran, just reunited with his four children. And tonight, with the help of a handful of local organizations, Rafael Torrez and his children have a new and affordable place to call home…just in time for Christmas.

Rafael Torrez just got full custody of his four children. He is a veteran that has been in transitional housing but now has an apartment. However, it’s empty and he doesn’t have anything. When a handful of local organizations heard of Torrez’s situation, they stepped up to help.

“We’re working with Honor Flight. We’re walking with California Veterans Association,” Robin Robinson the director of CityServe Kern County said. “We’re working with The Mission Kern County. We’re using their truck. Many many different people coming together to make this and lots of people from the community.”

The trucks were loaded. Furniture, household items and food all were packed to bring to the Torrez family’s new home.

It was an empty shell that within hours would become furnished and filled to the brim complete with a Christmas tree and presents scattered underneath. Dozens of people worked hours to fill the home. Among them, Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy.

“When you see these children’s faces and you talk to the father that’s put a lot to sacrifice a lot for this country we want to be a little part that will help him at the same time,” Congressman Kevin McCarthy the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives said.

From the bathrooms, to the kitchen. The pantry was stocked, cupboards were filled with food and appliances were hooked up. The bedrooms were given make overs and the living room was completely designed for a family ready to celebrate Christmas.

Then came the big reveal.

The children were overjoyed. They looked at the presents and explored their new rooms with excitement.
While Rafael Torrez took everything in.

“I still can’t believe it. It’s a miracle. I just can’t believe it,” Rafael Torrez said. “There’s nothing in my life that I dreamed that I would get this far and actually have my four kids with me.”

Torrez will live here with his four kids, ages 5, 6, 8 and 9. A church across the street has offered his family access to services like childcare, food, and activities.

“We are in contact with them,” Pastor Tino Lizaola from Alta Vista Assembly Church said. “We have their information so we’ll keep in contact with them every month to make sure they are ok and if there is anything else they need we will always come back and help out especially the kids.”

Torrez says he’s completely stunned that a miracle happened for him and his family this Christmas.

“I just want to thank everybody, everybody that had their hand in it,” Torrez said.

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