Holiday blessings move in

Erick Manier-Wilson calls his 17-month-old daughter, Eryan, his "miracle baby."

One year ago today, she and her mother were ejected from their car when it overturned on Las Vegas Boulevard, just south of Sloan. Her 33-year-old mother, Lora Yvette Ethridge-Manier-Wilson, died at the scene, but Eryan survived.

It was the second time Manier-Wilson had lost a wife. His first wife died of natural causes in 1998.

The single father of six children took another hit in March, when he was laid off from his job as a chef at Treasure Island.

But this week, Manier-Wilson is counting his blessings.

On Wednesday, he learned that his family had been selected for Walker Furniture's 15th annual "Home for the Holidays" program. The following day, a truckload of free furniture arrived at their Las Vegas home.

"I've been running around all morning trying to straighten up a little bit," he said as workers unloaded the furniture.

Manier-Wilson, 42, said he thought about writing to Walker for about two weeks before he penned the letter in November. He waited another week before deciding to mail it.

He said he had heard about the program for years and thought, "I might have a chance. I could be blessed, too." Nevertheless, he felt uncomfortable writing the letter on behalf of his own family.

In the letter, Manier-Wilson described the family's rough year, which included living for several months at an extended-stay hotel. He explained that he recently had found a rental home that he could afford with his unemployment income.

"With the one-year anniversary approaching I wish, hope and pray that it will be better than last year," he wrote.

His 20-year-old daughter was working Thursday, but the other five children watched as workers filled the two-story home with a new dining set, sofa, recliner and bedroom sets for each of the four bedrooms.

Manier-Wilson has three other daughters, ages 14, 6 and 5, and a 4-year-old boy.

"I give women the utmost respect when they say they're stay-at-home moms now," he said. "I truly understand what they're talking about now: that it's a job, staying at home."

His first wife was the mother of the two oldest children, and his second wife was the mother of the other four. The toddler still has a scar on her forehead from last year's accident.

Walker Furniture's chief executive officer, Larry Alterwitz, joined the family for Thursday's delivery. He said Manier-Wilson's letter stood out among the thousands his business received.

"To see that type of courage is very inspiring," Alterwitz said.

He said the home was one of 36 selected for this year's program.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at or 702-380-8135.