On the Saturday night before Easter, Danny Harper, his wife, Toria, and their three children went to Smoke N Pig at Macon Mall to meet Dannys mother and the rest of the family for an early Easter celebration. They were having a lovely time enjoying each others company, delicious food, the wonderful weather and chatting about what each of them were going to do on Easter Sunday.
Then the phone rang.
At the other end of the phone was a frantic voice describing a fire. It was a terrible fire. It was a destructive fire. It was a fire raging out of control. And it was at Danny and Torias house.
One of his neighbors in their close-knit community off Allen Road in Macon saw the flames and ran to the house to make sure no one was inside. He was ready to go in to rescue anyone occupying the house. He was terrified, but he was relieved when he called Danny and Toria and learned the house was empty.
Needless to say, the phone call caused an abrupt end to the otherwise joyous Easter gathering.
Fire trucks came from everywhere to try to save the house, but they faced their own emergencies.
You see, the house was located on a long dirt road, and there had been plenty of rain in the days prior. So at the time of the fire, the long dirt road was a mud pit. You can only imagine the difficulty a very heavy fire truck would have trying to gain traction in deep, thick mud.
One truck was able to make it down the rural area to attempt to extinguish the flames while neighbors tried to help the other trucks maneuver out of mud that was as sticky as glue.
The Harpers and their three terror-stricken dogs watched in horror as everything they owned went up in flames. Everything they held dear, including treasured photographs, was gone.
To say there is nothing left but pile of ashes is an accurate description of the remains of years of living and accumulating memories. Yes, they are blessed to have their lives, for which they are so grateful, but now they have to start over from scratch.
My nonprofit organization, Central Georgia CARES, is helping them and their dogs. CARES will be holding a collection drive on June 7 from 9 a.m. until noon in the parking lot of Forest Hills United Methodist Church at 1217 Forest Hill Road in Macon for you to bring anything you can to help them get back on their feet.
When I say they need everything, I mean they need everything, except clothes. Theyve received plenty of clothes.
But they need a double-wide mobile home and underpinning, supplies to build the porch that the Planning & Zoning Commission requires, furniture such as a sofa and love seat, kitchen items, table and chairs, coffee pot, microwave, dishes, silverware, two queen and one twin mattresses and box springs, bedspreads, sheets, pillows, towels, a washer and dryer, vacuum cleaners, mops and brooms.
They are literally setting up housekeeping all over again. Please come out and help them on Saturday, June 7, from 9 a.m. until noon at Forest Hills United Methodist Church. CARES and the Harpers will be very grateful.
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