Volunteers renovate home for youth football coach whose house burned down

Oct 8, 2022, 11:30 PM

SALT LAKE CITYA Murray Youth Football coach whose house burned down this summer is thanking his “little angels.” His family now has a new place to live – donated, renovated and decorated by dozens of volunteers.

“My reaction was just lots of love,” said Cori Johnson, the coach.

Johnson, his wife and two kids rolled up to their new temporary home in Salt Lake City Saturday afternoon. They arrived in a limo with a police escort.

Dozens of volunteers have been working over the past few weeks to fix up the home near Nibley Park in Sugarhouse, which a family friend offered rent-free for the next year. 

A lot of the work happened Friday night and Saturday.

A crowd welcomed the Johnsons with balloons, signs and music.

Tiani Clyde, whose nonprofit Little Miracles coordinated the project, said she actually met Cori Johnson a couple of years ago when he reached out to her. He owns a flooring business and wanted to donate flooring to families in need.

“He’s donated every single time all the flooring that we’ve needed,” she said.

This time, he was the one who needed help. The makeover was extensive, complete with a more open floor plan, new kitchen and flooring, fresh paint and countless upgrades.

“Makes life a hundred times easier,” Johnson said. “It takes the stress off and lets you go back to focusing on what matters — being a dad, your business, coaching right now. We’re in the middle of playoffs next week.”

Melissa Curran’s sister delayed her plans to move into the property in order to help the Johnsons, allowing them time to rebuild their home in Murray. Curran’s mother died in late 2019, and the house has been vacant and in need of repairs.

“We hope she’s looking down on us and happy about the way it’s turned out,” Curran said, adding: “It was nice to see that he’s going to have a place and kind of help him get back on his feet.”

Clyde said everyone has something they can give, although they may not realize it. It’s often skills, time or energy – not a check.

“It’s really about community,” she said. “It’s about neighbors helping neighbors.”

Johnson addressed all the volunteers: “Little Miracles would be, to me, it’s like my little angels. The Lord sent me some angels in probably the hardest time of my life to help me and my family. I’m really grateful for all of you.”

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Volunteers renovate home for youth football coach whose house burned down