COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Smith family of Columbus opened their front door Wednesday afternoon, shocked to find out their 7-year-old daughter So'Maiya had been chosen as the winner of the Children's Military Dream Room Makeover.
The non-profit organization Active Heroes, along with BMW of Columbus, Montlick & Associates and WTVM, is celebrating military children and will now turn So'Maiya's room into a princess paradise.
"She has more weight on her than a 7-year-old should carry," explains So'Maiya's father Carlos.
Carlos, a military veteran, was nearly killed in a motorcycle accident in 2011.
"The last thing I remember was putting gas into my bike and talking to her on the phone, and then I woke up a week later," explains Carlos while wiping away tears.
The accident caused partial paralysis and the loss of Carlos' lower left leg.
"I saw my military career end before I wanted to end," Carlos said.
During his road to recovery, his rocks So'Maiya and Smith's wife Lakesha never left his side.
"Something told me that this was going to be okay. It might not be the same, but we got to get it together because I know him well enough that he would want me to be there for her," explains Lakesha.
As the Smiths continue to adjust to a new way of life, So'Maiya still struggles with nightmares and is not comfortable in her own room.
"It's tough and the reason I know it's tough is because she can't sleep by herself and if I'm not here there is the 'where's daddy?' It's hard to watch the child worry about the parent," explains Carlos.
"I love my family," says So'Maiya.
Now crews will come in to create the perfect purple and pink princess room for So'Maiya.
The Smiths are the 40th military family Active Heroes has assisted with home repairs.
"Emotionally it has to take a major toll on this family. So I believe just giving back a little bit, to support the child in her time of need is going to help heal the family," explains Troy Yokum, founder of Active Heroes.
"I want her to know, I might not have all the same parts, but I am still Daddy, I'm still alright and everything's going to be all right," explains Carlos.
The Smiths hope sharing their story and their positive outlook on life will help other families who might be struggling.
"I'm ready for them to get to work," says So'Maiya.
Crews will begin working in the room this weekend with the finished product to be revealed in coming weeks.