Each year, Jim McIngvale, of Gallery Furniture Stores in Houston holds the stores’ “Homes for the Holidays” community give-away.

With all the destruction from Hurricane Ike, McIngvale received thousands of nomination letters from families and friends of people in need in the Houston, Golden Triangle and Galveston areas. The need was so great, but they had guidelines to follow. They had to, “really look for a unique letter of need.”

What they found so unique about Panahi’s letter was that her 74 year old grandmother had lived independently before the storm and was anxious to get back to her life. Jordan had lived alone in the home since the death of her husband, Charles B. Jordan, in 1999.

Like many in Bridge City, she had lost everything and her house had to be stripped to the studs.

With six feet of water in the house for two days, she had dead fish and animals everywhere. “The smell was horrible,” the letter said.
FEMA had denied her a trailer, saying the home was livable. The same sad story that can be heard over and over again in Orange County. 

“Many of her neighbors decided to leave the area after Hurricane Ike, but she insisted in staying in the home she raised her two children in,” said her daughter, Kristi Jordan Panahi. Kristi graduated from Bridge City High School in 1978 and her brother Kirk Jordan graduated in 1984.

First Jordan stayed with a friend, then floated between her son’s and daughter’s homes. Insurance was being slow and uncooperative.

She doesn’t have much money, so rebuilding of her home is taking time.

“Grandma Shirley has never been one to have a lot of money. Her deceased husband, an educator, was not able to leave his retirement to Shirley, therefore, she is on a fixed income,” stated the letter 

 “Everyday of her life she has suffered with pain and medication,” said her granddaughter. “But this sweet Grandma would never let you know that she had a rough childhood with Cerebral Palsy.”

It continued to tell of her battle with breast cancer, her medical training, volunteer work and her incredible patience in the face of adversity. She is 50% deaf and wears hearing aides in both ears. The hearing loss has created a mild speech impediment. 

 Jordan’s tale, “She Wants to be Home Again,” has earned the grandmother new furniture for every room in her house. It will be delivered by Gallery Furniture Stores to her home, Wednesday afternoon.

 Jordan wants to be a part of the rebuilding process of storm-affected Bridge City. Money from her flood insurance will barely cover the rebuilding costs. This award of furniture will go a long way to making her house a home again.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.