2013-01-30 / Letters

Community’s Help Requested For Couple Displaced By House Fire

To The Editor:

My name is Kevin Benner, and I am next-door neighbor to Leon and Mary Fisher who lost their home and all their belongings on Thursday. I received a call from Bernie Kipp telling me about the fire. It was a total uninsured loss.

I am happy to let you know that Mary and Leon are doing fine, and they are grateful to Fulton County Medical Center for helping them with their recovery after the fire. Also to the staff for taking the time to start their car and clean the snow off the day they were released.

First of all I would like to thank the first-responders and anyone else who helped. Hope that everyone is doing OK who got injured. Thanks to the Red Cross, which was already there when I arrived about an hour after the fire started.

Everyone who knows me will tell you that I divide people into two groups, “Givers and Takers.” I would like to make you aware of some “Givers.” A special thankyou to the following for their help and/or donations: True Value in McConnellsburg for their generous donation of plywood and discounts on the other items I purchased. Please support them anytime you can. Thanks to Bernie, Penny and Justin Kipp of McConnellsburg for their help in phone calls and helping board up the doors and windows. Thank you, Ed Keener of Clear Spring, Md., for help in securing the home and helping retrieve items from the home. Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Dave Forrester and Farmer’s Union in Greencastle for dropping off and the use of a box truck to pick up the donations from all my great friends. A special thanks to Anne Harvey from the Office of the Aging for all her help in assisting me to find the Fishers temporary housing. Thank you to Sister Margie and the Catholic Mission for their generous donation. God bless you. Thank you to Josh Shadle Excavating for donating his time and equipment to tear down the destroyed home. Please think of him for any of your needs in the future.

To my best friend and the “ultimate giver,” George Cutchall for all his help with contacts and phone calls and for teaching me how important it is to “give back” to the community.

Thank you to Matt Burch of Hagerstown for your help doing the same. Thank you to Lowe’s of North Hagerstown and Jim Nixon for discounting materials needed. Thank you to Susquehanna Bank in town for starting the donation process for Leon and Mary. Thanks to Elaine Armstrong for the use of her phone to call 911 since the fire had shorted out the Fishers’ phone line. These people and businesses are the only ones I know about and can recall. Thanks to all.

Leon was also a giver ... He did not have much, but he would do anything for you. He would take my trash every week without even asking him to do it. I always gave him my aluminum cans to recycle for the extra money. After the fire, when he realized he had lost everything ... he was most upset that he lost his favorite cat. If we all could be more like him! He was always busy doing something day and night. If he could not think of anything to do, he would cut down a dead tree for firewood. Leon told me on Sunday when I took them a care box to the motel in Breezewood that getting food for carryout is expensive ... I spent $19 for two hamburgers and two french fries. These are simple folks.

These are good people, and we need to help them out. We have found them a place to live temporarily, but they need to be back at home on Oak Ridge Drive. I have made a commitment to do that, and I will see to it that they have a new, simple home with the help of the community of businesses and individuals. They are not fancy folks and they will appreciate anything. Leon told me “No more wood stove, Kevin,” but I am thinking geothermal or an outside wood burner so he never has to worry about it happening again. They lost all their furniture.

Mary got around with a walker and, thank God, she did not fall getting out of the burning, smokefilled home that day because Leon would not have been able to get her out. I never saw Mary out much, but when she was, she was always telling me Happy Thanksgiving or Merry Christmas around the holidays.

If you are a plumber, carpenter, framer, roofer, electrician, mason, excavator or anyone who can help, please let me know. A great donation would be from an insurance company that would make some form of donation that would take the worry out of the possibility of this ever happening again.

I would like to do a project like Ty Pennington does on national TV. I have met Ty, and he is genuine. This is a giving community, and we can get this couple back to some form of normalcy.

As I reflect on things ... Is it worse to not have much and lose everything or have everything you would ever want and lose everything. Just imagine coming home one day and everything you left in the morning was gone. What a loss!

These are people who need our help, and I am asking you for help. They are simple individuals and do not live beyond their means.

I am pledging up to $10,000 toward this project, and I am asking you, the community, for any help you can give. We are in the process of working with Susquehanna Bank to set up a special account for this couple. Thank you in advance.

Kevin Benner

717-987-0048

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