Archive for Friday, August 22, 2008

Neighbors plan workday at burned house

Friends to pitch in after owner, son injured during cleanup

You have the chance to lend a helping hand to a family struggling to rebuilt their east Lawrence home.

August 22, 2008


Shannan McCawley and her eight children can't catch a break.

Faulty wiring sparked a blaze that destroyed their three-story home at 1141 N.Y. on June 12. Damage was estimated at $81,000 for the building and $25,000 for the contents.

The home was uninsured and the family lost everything - shoes, clothes, appliances, beds, photographs.

Things were looking up when Shannan was able to use monetary donations to rent a three-bedroom mobile home while working to clean up and rebuild the home that she grew up in, which her late mother, Shirley McCawley, fought so hard to pay for.

But 11 days ago, those cleanup efforts were hindered by injuries that Shannan and her 17-year-old son, Dominicke, received while removing debris from their home. Shannan slipped and fell down a flight of 14 stairs while helping carry a trash can of plaster weighing about 60 pounds. While recovering at home that same day, she received a phone call informing her that Dominicke had been rushed to the emergency room. Glass had fallen out of a broken window that he was trying to remove and cut his ankle, leaving a 3-inch gash that required stitches.

"That was when I was like, 'I can't do this,' " Shannan said with a sigh. "It's just been crazy - really crazy. I am starting to feel like we are not going to get back home, and I am really at a loss right now."

But it looks like this family's much-needed break may arrive Saturday. The east Lawrence neighborhood is having a workday, beginning at 8 a.m., to help the family finish cleaning. Neighbor Dawn Hawkins is spearheading the project, and she encourages anyone with some spare time to help. She suggested volunteers wear sturdy shoes and gloves. Refreshments and masks will be provided.

"They are always helping other people, so I would like to see some of that coming back to them," she said.

How to help

The Eastside People's Market, 409 E. 12th St., is accepting monetary and material donations for the McCawley family.

Douglas County Bank also is accepting monetary donations at any of its Lawrence branch locations.

Cottin's Hardware & Rental, 1832 Mass., is accepting monetary donations that can be credited to an account for supplies.

Join the workday set to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at the McCawley home, 1141 N.Y.

Volunteers are asked to wear gloves and sturdy shoes. Refreshments and masks will be provided.

If you have items to donate, e-mail Shannan McCawley at


kugrad 9 years, 6 months ago

Genius, Not everyone buys a house. This house was in their family for years, perhaps it was an inheritance. You are totally correct that everyone should maintain insurance and I agree prospective buyers should not buy if they can't afford it. In this case, I am pretty sure it was inherited.

geniusmannumber1 9 years, 6 months ago

Then, Hawk, you shouldn't buy a house. I don't care how much you want it, or how much you think you're entitled to it -- maintaining insurance is every bit as much a part of owning a home as paying property taxes or utilities.That said, I think that everyone pitching in to help is a great idea. Might see what I can do myself.

George_Braziller 9 years, 6 months ago

Equity in a property has to do with what you will be paid when you sell it that is free and clear above what is owed. How are you going to get insurance by tapping into the "equity" of a house? You'd have to sell it to access the "equity." If you sell it then why do you need insurance?Your logic doesn't make any more sense than Wimpy saying "I'd gladly give you a quarter tomorrow for a hamburger today."--------------------------------------------------------invictus (Anonymous) says: If they didn't have insurance it must of been owned out right. If they had no money to pay insurance they should have tapped into thier equity. No symathy here, being irresponsible has consequences. Let someone else buy the house and fix it up. They can use the proceeds to rent somewhere else.

shannanturner1 9 years, 6 months ago

First of all I would like to give my thanks to each and every one of you that has supported me and my family through this entire time. I have read each and every comment that have been posted on here and fought myself not to reply, but today I am done fighting. For all of you NEGATIVE people out there first I will keep you all in my prayers, second you do not know the situation I was in to even speak on my family and situation. No I didnt have insurance at the time but yes I did have the money to pay for it, I was taking the premium in on the next day. Now this is NONE of your business but I felt I need to get some things off of my chest. I did inherit the house from my mother ( God Bless you mama) and this is why i am so determined to get it back. I have never asked for a hand out of any kind, if you knew me at all you would know that. I have worked since I was 9 yrs old, graduated from LHS AND held a job and taken care of my dying mother all her years of sickness. I am very frustrated with the negativity I have recieved from the people in Lawrnece. But i am more impressed and blessed with the help and support we have recieved from our community more over. If you dont know me dont speak on me and my family, I say this because you should know that God dont like ugly and you all are under HIS command and I would hate to see you get turned away at the doors of Heaven on judgement day. I think we have shown YOU ALL that we are willing to do this by ourselves, but ya know the neighbor hood we live in is strong and together and refuses to let us. We love all of our neighbors and all of hte people outside that has came through for us. Thank you and God Bless!

shannanturner1 9 years, 6 months ago

We would all like to thank the entire crew that came to help us today. The work day was a huge success and can not wait to get back home. I have seen people in this time that I havent seen since high school. My mauma would be so proud, each time I think I am giving up some one calls me or sees me and lets me know that the nieghborhood misses us( the children!) and we are not giving up. Thank you so much and God Bless all of you.!

RKLOG 9 years, 6 months ago

Kudos to the Journal for printing the donation info! Good luck with cleanup Saturday!

Janet Olin 9 years, 5 months ago

This is a hard-working, loving family known for helping others in need. I have been lucky to teach some of them, and now they need help. It takes no intelligence, ingenuity, or inspiration to snipe and make negative comments. Why not act and be part of a positive solution instead? Donate time, effort, and resources to help.

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