As they recover from a devastating fire which destroyed much of what they owned, Tressa Brown says her and partner Jason Killam's spirits are buoyed by the outpouring of support from a caring community.
On the afternoon of June 9, fire raced through their mini home in Lindsay, approximately 10 kilometres west of Woodstock, gutting the structure and destroying almost everything inside.
"We are beyond thankful to live in the community we do," said Brown in a social media post. "The love and support have been amazing. Losing everything you own is so overwhelming, but the love and support make it easier to help us push through and remember that tomorrow is a new day, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel."
Brown said financial and moral support began to pour in almost immediately.
Killam's brothers, Jamie and Jeff, set up a Go Fund Me page to raise at least $5,000 for the family.
The link to the page is: https://www.gofundme.com/.../jason-killam-and-tressa...
Brown said others immediately reached out to provide support in various ways.
"We can't thank our friends, family, and complete strangers for all the calls, messages and help," Brown said.
People can also donate clothing, household items and other donations at Campbell's Towing and Auto Sales and Speedy Auto Glass in Woodstock.
Brown said clothing sizes are men's 36 waist and men's 32 waist, men's shirts XL and Medium, and shoes size 10 and 9. Women's sizes are M/L and XL, and size 8 and 9 shoes.
Those collecting in support of the family note other needs include a long list of household items, such as towels and facecloths, kitchen items, lamps, pillows and bedroom items.
Brown said people asked her about eTransfer, instead of going through Go Fund Me. She said her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Brown was the only person home at the time of the fire. She awoke from a late-afternoon nap to the smell of smoke. She opened her bedroom door to find dark smoke from ceiling to floor.
Grabbing the family cat, Brown reached the front door and escaped the burning building.
The children were not home at the time, and Killam, an engineering tech with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, was working on a summer contract in Bathurst. He rushed home as soon as he received the devastating news.
Despite the devastation, Brown is thankful to many who responded immediately with care and kindness, beginning with members of the Woodstock Fire Department and neighbours.
She noted their daughter Kailey, who understands her mother's health issues, rushed to the scene to help.
"There was a lady, who was the first one to stop, but I never got her name or got to thank her," said Brown. "She gave the cat and me blankets to keep us warm. I would love to be able to thank her, as well."
Brown said the family is temporarily living in Holmesville.
Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun