In the wee hours of the morning of October 31, 2012 my parents (Glenn and Martha McNeil) had a massive fire at their residence and business. It was of epic proportions and unlike anything I could have ever imagined... You always hear about damages associated with home and business fires, but to view the aftermath up close and personal... Well, I think that unless it ever happens to you, or family/friends you just cannot be prepared for what you are about to see. So much damage and destruction to absolutely everything. Complete and utter devastation.
Due to the fact that their primary residence did not have a heating system installed yet (only and old, inactive wood burning fireplace) they were not eligible for content insurance through their policy. My parents purchased their retirement dream in early 2012 and took possession just at the end of March/2012. The plan was to utilize electric radiant heat for the winter season and install the new heating and a/c system next year. All of their time and money was invested in renovating and upgrading the motel units, beautification of the property and grounds, as well as stocking the storefront and opening the food concession.
Everyone always thinks it will 'never happen to them' and this time it did. To my family. My heart is breaking for my parents. They worked so hard this past year resurrecting their 'retirement baby'. This is the pre-fire Pinewood Motel: https://www.facebook.com/PinewoodMotel
My parents have not only lost all of their personal belongings, but also their entire revenue stream. The motel and store were their primary business and as you know my mom also had her dog grooming salon at the property as well. Everything that helped them to earn an income was also lost in the fire.
My grandma also lived with my parents, but in somewhat separate quarters with her own living room, kitchen and bedroom - so essentially the contents of two households plus multiple businesses have been lost. They are such modest people and are not the type to ask for any help or support so I have taken the responsibility of ensuring they are supported to the best of my capabilities. I have made it my mission to ensure that funds are raised so that they have received adequate support until they have a home to live in and are able to open their doors again for business.
I have created a facebook account to centralize the communication regarding information, updates, donation requests, fundraising, etc. As well to share photos and thanks to everyone. If you haven't already, please consider joining the group and/or share it with others who you feel may be able to offer any kind of assistance or support. This is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/490925274274968/
My husband Dan Lauzon and I are working hard to collect as many donations we can to help support getting them back on their feet. We are actively collecting gift card donations for Walmart, Sobey's, Visa Gift cards (because they are so universal), Canadian Tire gift cards as well as Canadian Tire money (which can be turned into gift cards).
Planning is underway for a fundraiser that people can purchase tickets to and attend with food, a bar, a raffle, silent auction, live music and/or a DJ and games as well. Helping my parents to replace their lost source of income is a primary focus for me.
What is most important is that everyone is alive and safe. I am so thankful for my parents dogs... Without them they likely would have perished. They are true heros and definitely saved their lives. I can't imagine what must have been going through their minds as the dogs woke them just in time for them to grab their shoes and run out the door. It's all so very scary. Just as a side note - Had my grandma not decided to come for a sleepover that night (due to the storm created from Hurricane Sandy they had been without hydro for over 39 hours) we would have lost her in the fire. The fire likely began near the bathroom area and that was next to her bedroom. At the rate of speed that the fire overtook the residence it is certain that she would have perished.
My faith in humanity has been restored after the outpouring of support that has been shown so far towards my family during their time of crisis. With all the bad that happens in the world it is amazing to see what people for one another in times like this.
I thank each and every one of you for your continued efforts to assist my parents with getting back on their feet. Remember to hold your loved ones close and live each day to it's fullest because in the blink of an eye everything can change. Lives can be lost and there is no turning back.
Much love to all of you and your families.
Shannon (McNeil) Lauzon