The entire northern Michigan community is making sure a family in Crawford County, who lost everything they owned in a fire, has a happy holiday.
Thanks to help from family and friends, Lacey Smith and her fiancÃ Ryan Haskin moved into a new home this weekend. Now their family is getting ready for Christmas.
Additionally, the Red Cross was able to go above and beyond in this situation thanks to a partnership with United Way and the Rotary Club.
â??Whenever possible we help get the families to that next stage where they're on their way to recovery,â?? said Dani Dierck, AmeriCorps Disaster Services associate. â??They have a place of their own, and as much as we can help, we do so.â??
The fire broke out December 8, destroying everything within Smith's house. The family lost everything, including the Christmas presents bought the day before.
â??There was so much,â?? said Smith. â??I spent his whole paycheck the night before.â??
Smithâ??s biggest desire, though, was getting things back to normal in time for the holidays.
â??I wanted my son and daughter to have their own house, own Christmas tree, their own family time on Christmas morning,â?? explained Smith.
The Red Cross was able to do more than just meet the family's immediate needs.
â??They just called back to see how Lacey's doing. Theyâ??re going way above what I thought they ever did,â?? said Shea Haskin, Ryanâ??s mother.
â??You are unfortunately seeing people at their greatest tragedy, but knowing that we have the resources from our donors that we can go out and do our job is very rewarding,â?? said Dierck.
â??She called back, and said they had more funding. She didn't know how much it'd be, but it'd be a start,â?? said Smith.
The gifts included dishes, silverware, pots, and pans, a toaster, towels, and blankets, not to mention gifts from complete strangers.
â??I opened the door, she handed me a bag of stuff and said, â??this is for the fire victim and turned around and left,â?? said Haskin. â??I didn't know who she was.â??
â??Neighbors who heard our story came and dropped off a card with $50,â?? said Smith.
Smith said all of the help is overwhelming, but in a good way.
â??I just wish I could repay everybody. I don't know how to give them my thanks,â?? said Smith.
The family is writing down all the names of people who have helped them. Smith is paying it forward by donating everything that her family can't use.
â??My daughter didn't need seven winter jackets. There are little kids out there that come to school without,â?? said Smith.
Smith said this will undoubtedly be a Christmas the whole family remembers.