Watsons return home; scholarship fund named in their honor

Watsons return home; scholarship fund named in their honor

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By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Monday was an amazing homecoming for the Watson family.

"To see the community come out like this, for my daughter? It's like, is this part of our life?" said Mandy Watson's mother Lesia Byrd.

The family is the recipient of a new house being built by community volunteers and the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition TV show. They enjoyed a "Thanksgiving" dinner Monday night with friends, relatives and Restoration House volunteers.

"When we look out here at the room, we see all the people who helped us get where we are and we are so thankful," said Daniel Watson.

Community donations raised money to fly a very special guest in all the way from Africa. Mandy's sister Michelle teaches English there.

"It was really hard to be away during all of this and watch it just on the Internet, so to actually be here, I'm just so thankful," said Michelle Kiyiamb, Mandy's sister.

Another special guest was the Vice President of Johnson University, the Watson's alma mater. He announced free rides for the three Watson kids and a scholarship fund for the children of Restoration House.

"This weight that has been sitting on my shoulders for so long has now been taken off," said Cortny Bean, a Restoration House single mom. "It's awesome."

Bean and her son Braxton are part of Restoration House and live on the Watson's property.

"It's like one day you're going to Sears, the next day you're getting a makeover, then you're going to Florida and then college scholarships and then tomorrow a new house," said Bean.

"I'm probably going to be speechless."

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