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Archive for Monday, February 13, 2006

School opens heart to fire victims

February 13, 2006

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Sunset Hill School Principal Chris Bay didn't have to say much last week to get parents and other members of the community to help Shawna Downing's family, whose house was severely damaged in a fire Tuesday.

"I had people handing me $50 bills and pulling money out of their pockets," Bay said.

About $300 was donated earlier in the week, and the family has also been offered food and lodging.

"The community is so friendly and helpful. These people are down on their luck right now. Whatever we can do to help," said Doug Holiday, owner of Bigg's Barbecue.

Sunset Hill principal Chris Bay looks over the wall of items needed by the family of one of the school's student's, whose home was damaged in a fire Tuesday in West Lawrence. The wall has several items where people can pick up the suggestion and drop off the item at the school where it will be given to the family.

Sunset Hill principal Chris Bay looks over the wall of items needed by the family of one of the school's student's, whose home was damaged in a fire Tuesday in West Lawrence. The wall has several items where people can pick up the suggestion and drop off the item at the school where it will be given to the family.

Holiday's son is a student at Sunset Hill, where Downing's son, Austin, is a second-grader. Holiday has offered a free meal from his restaurant to the family and was working to get other restaurants to do the same.

Downing also has a 1-year-old child and 2-year-old child.

The family stayed at the Lawrence Holidome for three nights, courtesy of the American Red Cross. Hampton Inn and Best Western of Lawrence have also donated rooms for the family, Holiday said.

The home Downing rented at 3405 Oxford Court caught fire when clothing too close to a water heater ignited. The house sustained significant damage.

"They lost everything. They have nothing," Holiday said.

Hearts on the wall of Sunset Hill school contain suggestions for the family members of one of the school's students whose family's home was damaged in a fire Tuesday. People can pick up one of the suggestions and drop off the items at the school where they will be given to the family.

Hearts on the wall of Sunset Hill school contain suggestions for the family members of one of the school's students whose family's home was damaged in a fire Tuesday. People can pick up one of the suggestions and drop off the items at the school where they will be given to the family.

Sunset Hill's family and student support team has worked to get a list of needs from Downing. Today, a wall at the school will be covered with hearts listing things the Downing family needs, and students can choose a heart and provide the needed items, Bay said.

Gift certificates for clothing or other donations are also being accepted at Sunset Hill School, 901 Schwarz Road, or at Bigg's Barbecue, 2429 Iowa, Suite E.

Comments

heidi_b 8 years, 2 months ago

I would just like to give a few words of praise about the staff and community of Sunset Hill Elementary. They are so awesome, and my family is proud to be a part of the Sunset Hill Community! One year ago, my son, Tony, a 5th grader, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. The kindness, support, and generosity that we recieved from the Sunset Hill Community was tremendous. I never expected to recieve so much kindness from so many people, many of whom I didn't even know, during our most difficult time. My family truly appreciates all of the help we recieved. We are so happy to be able to return the kindness to the Downing family during their time of need. The little boy, Austin, just happens to be my son, Tony's cross-grade partner. You are in our thoughts and prayers. :)

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