News 12 at 11 / Thursday, June 19, 2014
THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW) -- A family is rebuilding after tragedy rips them apart.
On June 4, Jeremiah Kalume, the autistic 7-year-old quadruplet drowned in a pond across from his Thomson home. It happened just days after the mother started raising money for a fence. Now, they're finally getting that fence.
While his mother, Deborah Kalume, is coping with the loss of one, she's committed to keeping her other three kids safe.
Hammering is the sound of a new beginning as builders begin to construct a fence around the Kalume home.
"I think she's excited about it, and it gives her hope for the future," said Marcus Peterson, owner HBC Builders, LLC and Augusta Fencing Company.
It's an addition just a few weeks late. Earlier this month, Jeremiah, one of her four autistic kids, wandered off and drowned in a nearby pond. Today Peterson told News 12 he came to measure for the fence nearly a month before the accident happened.
"It was about 2-3 weeks before the incident happened. She called me and said she was looking for a fence. We went out there and measured it and gave her the price. She wasn't able to afford it, so she was going to start a campaign up," he recalled.
Looking back, it's a somewhat prophetic call asking for help to prevent the very thing that ended up happening. But the race to raise money turned out to be a race against time. That campaign found on the site Indiegogo was created May 31, just four days before Jeremiah drowned.
"She was taking the proactive step of getting a fence put up, but it was just a little bit too late, and an unfortunate thing happened," Peterson said.
With the other three kids currently in foster care, this fence is how a mother is fighting to get all her children back under one roof.
"It's going to be a wooden fence. It's going to be a privacy fence. And what we're going to do is put the panels on the inside so the child has nothing to climb on," Peterson said.
With each wooden plank, a family rebuilds, and as the concrete for the fence is poured, the builders lay the foundation for a safe home. Deborah Kalume did not want to appear in our story as she focuses on getting her family back together. The fence should be finished by Friday.
She surpassed her $2,700 goal for the fence, much of that through donations on the Indiegogo site, but until that money becomes available, the builder is fronting all the money for the fence.