The start of Hemi Humphries baseball career at West Monroe High School was already atypical. The spread of COVID-19 halted the freshman from further displaying his natural talent.
“It was kind of my year to come out, and ‘Hey, I want to do something. I want to be a part of the team,'” says Hemi.
Weeks passed since the coronavirus premature ended the prep baseball season. But, for Hemi and his family, there proved to be a much bigger battle.
On the morning of April 30, 2020, the lives of the Humphries family changed forever. Flames engulfed their West Monroe home. The smoke detector never sounded.
I woke up to Casie screaming, I thought she was saying we were late for work, ” says Nate Humphries, Hemi’s father.
“I woke up to some sounds that I actually thought it was raining really hard, and it was the sound of the fire, ” says Casie Reeve.
“That’s when I got up, I went to the door, ” Nate continues.
“I got up to see what it was, and the garage door, and the garage was on fire, ” Casie continues.
“By the time I opened the door, it was too hot to go in the garage, ” says Nate.
After initially spotting the fire, the family was forced to act fast and flee to safety.
“It felt like about 30 seconds, ” says Nate.
“Our door had a bad problem with jamming, to where we can’t open it, ” says Hemi. “So, luckily God had our back and he was with us. And, that door opened in two seconds.”
Once everyone in the house was accounted for, all the family could do it watch everything they worked hard for, all their prized possessions, disappear.
“There goes everything, ” says Nate. “My daughter wouldn’t have seen her ninth birthday. It’s very emotional.”
“I had stuff that was made by my little sister, Mia, that will never be able to be replaced, ” says Hemi. “There’s no dollar value on it.”
What was once the Humphries’ residence is now that of charred remains. Walls that were once white, have now blackened. The sight of ash now coats where the family called home.
“You see the kids pictures, photos on the wall, ” says Nate. “The stuff your kids made you, Mia’s pageant ribbons and crowns, and softball rings. And, Hemi’s [baseball] rings. You see the burnt up remains of your baby books. That’s the hardest part.”
In the days and weeks after the fire, the community has stepped up. McGuire Methodist Church assisted the Humphries in finding a temporary home. West Monroe and Claiborne Christian High Schools donated baseball equipment to Hemi. A Go-Fund-Me account was started to help with other expenses.
“Talk about a tear jerker, goodness, ” says Hemi. “I’ve always seen our town as we’re big enough to where you can meet someone new everyday. We’re small enough to feel really homely.”
Throughout the recovery process, the Humphries have remained positive. Their house is uninhabitable for now. But, for the time being, they have each other.
“We thank God for everything, ” says Nate. “We were Christians to start with. Kind of put a new perspective on everything. We could’ve never talked to each other again, after that night. The only thing worse than none of us making it through it, was a couple of us making it through it.”
Through it all, Hemi Humphries had to grow up fast, and trust his faith over fear.
“You got to be a little bit more strong than what it takes to be a young man, ” Hemi says. “And, especially with something as tragic as this, you’ve got it in you. You just got to do it. You got to think, ‘I got this and God has this. ‘”
To assist the Humphries family, click here to be directed to the family’s Go Fund Me website.