Sadly, this past weekend, a large chimney fire in our neighborhood destroyed two families’ homes, completely displacing two local teenagers and their dad. Upon returning to school on Monday, I could only give hugs. Incredibly mature and with tremendous perspective, the oldest, a senior, smiled and said, “Everyone got out safely, and we have a lot to be thankful for. We will be okay.” The younger of the two chatted openly for a few minutes during first period, and it was one of those occasions, as a teacher, I wasn’t sure I was making the situation better or worse by having her talk. Would she become sad while talking having lost everything in her bedroom? Would she dislike the individual attention placed on her as she spoke? Neither of these happened. According to her, the worst part of the whole day was the number of people who stood around watching her house burn down. But when the sharing came to a natural pause, we moved forward to our regular work.
Moments later, she approached me with a simple request. Did I happen to have an extra assignment notebook? And then she pulled hers out which had been soaked by water damage and smelled like fire. Of course, we could provide her with another one, and there she stood ready to do her job as a student, to get back at the work at hand.
Not only did fire trucks from surrounding towns come to fight the blaze, but suddenly there were people offering through social media how they could help. FB posts from our retired police chief, Doug Moorehead, and our retired school nurse, Terry Sabourn, showed leadership and direction organizing the multitude of people who just wanted to do something– who wanted to help in any way they could. These are just two of the many people in our towns who like to work together to problem solve a need as it arises. Chief Moorehead must devote 90 percent of his retirement time to volunteering through the Rotary, or Special Olympics, or countless other organizations he is passionate about. Terry Sabourn saw too many hungry kids during the school year, wondered what happened to them during the summer months, and started the “Got Lunch” initiative to bring healthy fruits and lunch items to families in need. These are certainly the right two people to have around after an emergency situation blows through town; they are the ones who follow through with the work needing to be done. By Tuesday night, this family was all moved into a new home complete with donated furniture, a new beginning.
These girls returned to school on Monday, after the trauma of having lost their possessions, clothes, laptops, etc. And their dad who just underwent hip surgery and physically not exactly up to moving, has instilled in his girls the understanding that they are indeed lucky–that this could have ended so much differently. There was a couple at home in the condo where the fire originated, and everyone, pets included, escaped with their lives if little else.
Perspective. Sometimes exactly what we need and when we need it. If you are in the White Mountains this Columbus Weekend peeping at our leaves, Mother Nature’s own fire in the mountains, please consider swinging by a bake sale located in front of Family Dollar in Lincoln beginning at 9 AM. Other donations are being channeled through Loon Mountain Ministry care of Marcus Corey as it is 501(c)3. These girls lost everything in their bedrooms, which for teenagers is a whole lot. One hundred percent of all donations will return to the Peck family and be tax deductible. Thank you again to everyone who helped to put out the fire– volunteer fire departments and local police and especially to those who helped to put a home back together for this family.