Archive for Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Agencies seeking donations to help Lawrence family of 11 whose house burned

Roger and Camay Guilory stand outside their home at 1772 E. 200 Rd., which was destroyed in a fire early Friday morning, Dec. 29, 2011.  The parents and their nine children, ages 13-months to 19-years-old, escaped out a second-floor window.

Roger and Camay Guilory stand outside their home at 1772 E. 200 Rd., which was destroyed in a fire early Friday morning, Dec. 29, 2011. The parents and their nine children, ages 13-months to 19-years-old, escaped out a second-floor window.

January 11, 2012


When an early morning fire on Dec. 30 ripped through the Guillory family’s house west of Lawrence, it also destroyed all of the belongings of the family of 11.

Family displaced by fire

Roger and Camay Guillory and their 9 children lost their rural Douglas County home in a fire early Friday morning. Enlarge video

Thankfully Roger and Camay Guillory and their children escaped the blaze safely at their house, 1772 North 200 Road. Fire officials said it burned after a space heater ignited some bedding. The Guillory family did not have insurance.

The two weeks since then have been a struggle as family members try to get their lives back to some sense of normalcy.

They’ve relied on the kindness of friends and strangers for everything from lodging to food to other basics.

“It’s just been countless organizations offering to help out,” said Roger Guillory, 36, who works as a relief operator ICL Performance Products in North Lawrence.

As the family continues to look for permanent housing, several Douglas County organizations are teaming up to collect household items beginning today.

United Way of Douglas County AmeriCorps members are seeking to collect these items:

• Bed frames and mattresses, bedding, pillows, blankets and towels.

• Small and large appliances, vacuum cleaner, toaster, television, radio, CD player.

• Dishes, silverware, glasses, pots, pans and utensils.

• Trash cans, a rake, a shovel, small tools, a broom, cleaning supplies and products.

• Toys like puzzles, board games and books for children ages 2 to 13.

• Non-perishable food items.

“If this happened to us, we would love for the community to come together and help us as well,” AmeriCorps member Kendra Noll said.

The project coincides with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. No clothing will be accepted.

Drop-off bins for daytime, weekday donations from today through Jan. 20 will be at:

• Douglas County Community Health Building’s first floor lobby, 200 Maine.

• Penn House, 1035 Pa.

• United Way Center for Humane Services, 2518 Ridge Court.

• Van Go Inc., 715 N.J., where Van Go apprentice artists will collect non-perishable food items.

AmeriCorps members will also be outside both Lawrence Walmart stores from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 16, on Martin Luther King Day, to accept donations, and they will pick up larger items, like furniture, Monday afternoon. Anyone who needs to arrange for an item to be picked up can call the United Way Roger Hill Volunteer Center at 785-865-5030 or email

The Douglas County Chapter of the American Red Cross provided hotel rooms for the family for several days after the fire, and then they became part of the Family Promise of Lawrence, a coalition that includes religious organizations and provides meals and housing opportunities. Guillory said the family is temporarily staying in a place through Family Promise.

Jane Blocher, the Red Cross chapter’s executive director, said the Guillory family has remained positive during challenging times.

“We try to take just what we need because there are other families out there that need more than we do,” Guillory said. “We’re grateful for all of the support.”


50YearResident 6 years, 4 months ago

Family of 11? How many worked to support this family before the fire?

ferrislives 6 years, 4 months ago

"The parents and their nine children, ages 13-months to 19-years-old, escaped out a second-floor window." I would have to say that the 13-month old probably doesn't work yet. The kids closer to 19 probably could work, but I'd rather them attend school.

While I'm all about people not abusing the welfare system, where in this article does it state as fact that this family is on welfare?

"...Roger Guillory, 36, who works as a relief operator ICL Performance Products in North Lawrence." The only fact stated about this family's status is that the father works.

Another fact is that it's none of your business, and you, 50YearResident, and some others on this forum are obviously not the kind of people that help others out when in need. This entire family lost it's home and their belongings, and all you can do is go on a rant about the welfare system? Lets hope that your glass house never breaks. Shame on you!

bevy 6 years, 4 months ago

Why do you assume that they were unable to support themselves? The father is employed. When did having a lot of kids become a crime in this country? Look out, your prejudices are showing.

50YearResident 6 years, 4 months ago

It costs $650,000 to raise 1 child through a college education at todays prices. I would not be able to afford to undertake 9 children and not many others could either Prejudice or just prudent?.

Amy Heeter 6 years, 4 months ago

From the previous story it appears to be a blended family. Obviously there were some financial issues since they did not have insurance, but what are they suppose to do? It's not like they can send the kids back.

Andrea Hoag 6 years, 4 months ago

Let's just be glad no one died in the blaze and not focus on how many children they have. It's really not of our business, is it?

For all we know they may be raising kids for other family members.

Incidentally, someone spending 650,000 per child through their college years sure isn't clipping their coupons. They must be on a different life-plan than the majority of my friends.

Good luck to the Guillory family. They're lucky to live in a town where a lot of people care.

Bassetlover 6 years, 4 months ago

You are absolutely correct on all four points. This family was completely self-reliant prior to the fire. No hand-outs from any organization. We will certainly go through our household to gather items to donate and I hope many others do as well. This family deserves support and all the blessings in the world.

ivalueamerica 6 years, 4 months ago

50yearresident. The true thinking of a humanitarian.

You are beautiful.

Lawrence Morgan 6 years, 4 months ago

The comments of 50year resident are disgusting.

All my support goes to the family!!!

Lori Kesinger 6 years, 4 months ago

I should know better than to read comments at the end of family related stories because I always get irritated. Yes, family of 11 seems excessive. I planned a family of three - two parents and one child...then things happened... As a grown up I take responsibility for the children that have come into my life. Not part of my plan and certainly not financially prudent. Please tell me where to send them where they will be cared for and given $650,000 it is going to cost to raise them. I don't have that kind of money but will raise them anyway.

Matt Schwartz 6 years, 4 months ago

'..two parents and one child.....then things happened.....'

Birth control.

deec 6 years, 4 months ago

Birth control can fail. Several religions discourage/forbid birth control. Sometimes family members have kids who need looking after. Sometimes people start new relationships and wish to procreate with new partners. Sometimes people with one kid marry people with other kids.

kernal 6 years, 4 months ago

I don't mind contributing for the necessities of life, but I do draw the line with non-essentials such as a CD player and TV. The Lawrence Public Library has loads of good books for the kids and parents.

tomatogrower 6 years, 4 months ago

How many people have an extra TV, CD player lying around, because they bought a new one, or they are using an iPod now. Plenty. Why shouldn't they donate them, rather them send them to the landfill. Poor people should just sit around and stare at the walls, kernal? Maybe they should find jobs for all the kids. Good grief. Such generosity. Please don't donate anything. Wouldn't want to put you out.

emceelean 6 years, 4 months ago

Seriously. My family has not one but TWO TVs that have occupied the basement for nearly a year. When I first read this, my heart sunk, then I jumped at the prospect of unloading a TV or two these deserving people.

I just hope that by the time I get to the United Way with TVs and a mattress in tow, they'll accept my donations. My guess is that there will be a pretty significant response.

James Minor 6 years, 4 months ago

CD player and TVs are part of today's society. Reading books is also great, but restricting someone to one or the other is not good. Donate anything that will help and leave prejuidices out of the giving process.

Sunny Parker 6 years, 4 months ago

I'm donating...I don't care about the comments. At least this family is together and the father is supporting his children. I wish them luck!

labmonkey 6 years, 4 months ago

If he is a relief operator at ICL, that means he is working all different kinds of shifts. ICL runs a rotating shift that changes every seven days, and I think a relief operator has to work the shifts for someone who is off. That means he is working harder and crappier hours than most who are judging him on this forum.... and a guy who is willing to work that to support his family probably never received public assistance. These children will probably grow up being self-sufficient and productive members of society since their father is probably a good role model for working crappy hours when he could easily be suckling the government teat.

tomatogrower 6 years, 4 months ago

Unlike the weak, little spoiled brats whose parents lavished with over half a million dollars of stuff. You know, those who end up dropping out of college after a year, because they would rather get drunk, than attend class.

labmonkey 6 years, 4 months ago

Why can't you just agree with my post without belittling others?

tomatogrower 6 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, I was responding to the post above about the incredible amount that it supposedly takes to raise a child, as if that was the only thing you needed to be a good parent. I also can't imagine spending more than 30,000 a year on one kid. I'm not sure where they get that number. Poor people can raise good well rounded people without spending that kind of money and spoiling a kid rotten. Time and love is more important than spending that much money. I'm not even sure where anyone would get a figure like that. It's mind boggling.

Sunny Parker 6 years, 4 months ago

I agree labmonkey! He's teaching his children how to support themselves (hopefully)! I don't know this family but I am more than willing to help them out! At least I am given the choice and not forced to give!

kernal 6 years, 4 months ago

Pywacket and Tomatoe Grower, I do not have a TV or CD player. But, I am more than willing to help out those in need with money for the essentials. And as for ratty old towels, I use those for cleaning rags and would never dream of passing them on to someone to use as towels! That was presumptuous and insulting, Pywacket.

You two need to get off your "aren't we special because we're conspicuous consumers" soapboxes.

labmonkey 6 years, 4 months ago

Speaking of soapbox... your's is pretty high. You accuse someone of being judgmental with a judgmental, name calling post yourself, then you use every opportunity to attack commenters when you disagree with their posts. I hate people who use tragedy to jump on soapboxes and belittle others.

labmonkey 6 years, 4 months ago

You attack the poster instead of their argument in ways that make you look as bad, if not worse than the original poster... i.e. your response to 50year above. I did not say anything about the argument about "needs," I am pointing out your tone in all your posts is off-putting and instead of helping someone see your side, you pretty much make your self look like a sanctimonious ass.

kernal 6 years, 4 months ago

Py, where on Earth do you get that I consider books to be a frivolous luxury?! I do think TV's, Ipods and CD players are frivolous luxuries, but that's just my opinion and certainly no one has to agree with that. However, in today's world when you have kids in school, computers are not a luxury. They need them for homework assignments and research. With eleven people in the house, two would be even better.

My original statement does not insult the Guilorys, but maybe statements that insinuate they can't get along without luxuries is. Think about it!

Deb Stavin 6 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps United Way could set up a page on their website to indicate what items are still needed each day, and provide updates on how the family is doing. A local bank could also set up an account for cash donations to the family.

naturalist 6 years, 4 months ago

nice idea, D. I know their neighbors, who were concerned and trying to help them, so we gave a little cash to them to give the family right away, but they need so much more. None of the clothing I had to donate was the right size. They are so lucky that they all got out of the house without injury. FYI I was told that they got caught in the process of getting renters' insurance before anything had been signed. We have a compassionate community and I believe people will continue to come through and help this good family in their time of need.

Deb Engstrom 6 years, 4 months ago

I got several gift cards for Christmas that I regifted to help this family. That way they can buy whatever they need/want and it's really none of my business. I hope the generosity of our community comes through for this family.

daddax98 6 years, 4 months ago

where did you take the gift cards? i have some restaurant cards that i will gladly donate

Erika Dvorske 6 years, 4 months ago

Great idea. We will get this up and going and repost here once it is. Thanks for the great brainstorm!

Erika Dvorske 6 years, 4 months ago

Thanks to the amazing response of this great community, most of the large items have been covered. Wow! We will have drop off sites for the smaller household items over the weekend, so we won't know what is needed until then.

If we identify things that are of particular need, we will use the Product Connections portion of the Volunteer Center's Web site. Have you visited ? There are listed the needs of agencies or people working with agencies, and if you have something to donate, you can post it there as well! Check it out, and while you are at it, review the volunteer opportunities!

SoundMind 6 years, 4 months ago

Wow, some people using this forum really, really suck. Hard.

daddax98 6 years, 4 months ago

SoundMind (anonymous) says…

Wow, some people using this forum really, really suck. Hard.

And we have a winner!

gsxr600 6 years, 4 months ago

I lived in an apartment with my parents as a kid and lost everything in a fire. No insurance. Every little bit helps and I know everyone on here could contribute something if they wanted. Some of these comments really are disgusting though.

Amesmb 6 years, 4 months ago

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." -Mother Teresa

Kyle Reed 6 years, 4 months ago

The last thing these folks need is a bunch of self righteous buffoons in the peanut gallery bickering and pointing fingers at each other. If you're not interested in helping, or discussing how they can be helped kindly shut the hell up and move along.

RogueThrill 6 years, 4 months ago

I would like to know how the LJWorld decides which articles are pre-moderated and which ones let 50YearResident post.

fancy80 6 years, 4 months ago

The thought of any child not having a pillow to lay their head on, or enough blankets to stay warm at night should be all the information one needs to go through their closets and pull out a few items to donate to this family. No further information should be necessary. This the first I have heard of this story, and I will be turning in my donation this weekend. My prayers are with this family...

bobbiesweany 6 years, 4 months ago

I just want to say my kids go to school with their kids, their kids are well behaved and have good manners so obviously they are raised right!!! I will be going through my house and donating what I have, a lot of you people on here need to GROW UP, I really hope none of them nor their family members read all the hatred that is here and I couldn't even finish the comments, they make me sick to my stomach, how can you judge someone who you don't even know, put yourself in their shoes, they lost everything, have to start over from scratch, how would you feel?? And how would you feel if people were saying all these mean and hateful things about you and your family??

ljohns 6 years, 4 months ago

As Erika said above, we've had many of offers of furniture for this family, and for other families in need. We are seeking volunteers who have trucks or other large vehicles to help move items from donors homes to a warehouse downtown. Volunteers are needed this Monday afternoon 1-4pm, or possibly for a later date if needed. Please leave a message at the volunteer center (785) 865-5030 or email if you can help and someone will get back to you with further details.

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