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Shelita Prograis was one of the lucky ones. Yeah, she lost her home in New Orleans in 2005 during Hurricane Katrina when it was overwhelmed by eight feet of raging floodwaters, but she and her family survived.
The family moved to Houston where 12 years later, it was impacted by the ravages of Hurricane Harvey.
But after she and her husband had lost their home in New Orleans, Prograis did not own another home.
That changed, though, on Wednesday.
Her son, former unified super lightweight champion Regis Prograis, surprised her with a house on Christmas Day. She was already inside the home, opening a gift that Regis had wrapped for her, when she found out.
He put boxes inside of boxes, with the last one being a box for a new iPhone. But there was no cellphone inside of it. Instead, there was just a key. It was the key to the home a friend had built which Regis purchased as a Christmas gift for his mother.
He posted a video of it on social media:
“Ever since Hurricane Katrina, my Mom was living in a one-bedroom apartment,” Prograis told Yahoo Sports on Thursday. “She was telling me for a long time that she wanted to get a two-bedroom apartment. And so I was thinking about that and everything worked out perfectly.”
A childhood friend of Prograis built the house on spec. Prograis was in financial position to do it and he liked the idea that he could do that for his mother after the sacrifices she’d made for him.
Prograis lives in Los Angeles now, and so lured his mother unwittingly to her new home by telling her he’d rented an Airbnb and they’d celebrate Christmas there.
A lot of his friends and relatives were in on the gift, but he had to be selective about who he told.
“Some of them talk too damn much and I knew if I told the wrong person, they’d tell her,” he said, chuckling.
She had no idea, though, as she opened box after box that more than 14 years after losing her home, she was at home once again.
Prograis loves boxing and loves that the sport allowed him to make his mother’s life that much easier.
“Every child, I think, would love to do something special for their parent if they had the ability to do so,” Program said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and everything just lined up perfectly for me to get it done this time.”
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