Help Gary and Kathy Benjamin after a house fire

I’m Nicholas Benjamin and many in the area would recognise me for being exceptionally polite and caring..  well that wouldnt be the case if not for the positive influences my Mother and Father set out for me and the caring loving ideals they instilled in me. My parents have throughout my life set countless examples of selflessness, acceptance, charity, love, compassion, and respect. They have opened their hearts and their home to many in need, and ive also seen them give to help others when we were secretly hurting financially or otherwise as a family. I got the call early morning on the 21st from a neighbor that my parents house was on fire and wasnt sure if my Mother was at work or if my Father had made it out. So i’m rushing down the highway on the phone with 911 in tears telling them  that my father with horrible COPD might be trapped in his bathroom or bedroom and that my mother was normally at work but hadnt felt the best recently and may have not went in  The experience of rounding the curve on the highway and seeing your childhood home on fire  and when I pulled up the Firefighter nearest me said that they were under the impression my parents had made it out but they couldnt locate them. As I panicked and began to head to neighbors I heard the familiar yell of my parents who were safely sitting in our neighbors vehicle with their dog Josie. My eyes continued to fill with tears at the knowledge that my parents were safe. My parents 70 year old neighbor Marshall Helm and another neighbor attempted to alert my parents from the outside of their home to the fire, but when unsuccessful Marshall forced entry into my parents home past burning flames, putting his own life at risk, and awoke them and helped them to escape. I can never thank him enough for that. He will always be in our debt. He is a true hero. And anything used through this GoFundMe reimbursed by insurance or anything not needed will be going to help Marshall and his family financially in any way we can. It’s not certain yet but it appears a heating lamp used for baby chickens within a small enclosure in the garage may have been the potential cause of the fire. Their garage completely burned, their bathroom and living room partially burned, the rest of the home is severely heat, water and smoke damaged. They lost our other family dog Sophia and their two Siamese cats Snicklefritz and Cocoa to smoke inhalation and it appeared as though they were trying to escape as well. My mother especially  has been crying about this, in addition to everything else, almost constantly since the fire. We love our pets like family. Not to mention alot of my parents childhood memories, slides, pictures, etc were in storage in the garage and were ultimately destroyed. This home was their life, and I feel so deeply bad for them as I know how difficult this will be but I love them so much and my family and I are going to be there for them 100% of the way. My partner Dovie has been nothing but amazing and supportive while caring for our month old daughter and our other kids with me during this emergency. Somehow I was able to recover my parents iPhones from the partial rubble of the living room and bathroom still mostly functioning minus some water/heat damage. I recovered them some clothes and personal items we are attempting to recover from smoke damage. My fathers truck was damaged by the heat being near the garage but thankfully is still driveable. My mothers car was in the garage and was destroyed along with her purse, her many plants that she loved, and her many crafts. 2 young cats and the family turkey Fred were able escape the garage during the fire and find safety. My parents between them have over 60 years in manufacturing and service history, with my father disabled and my mother continuing to work full time into her 60’s.  My parents are my idols, my inspiration and often my rocks and whom I seek advice. They are entering their twilight years and deserve to rest and retire with dignity and security. I love my parents so much and I cannot rest until I know that they will be okay. They have homeowners insurance and auto insurance, but like any consumer I’m afraid they will attempt to give my parents the run around or try to exclude them from the coverage they’ve paid for due to a technicality or something like that. I’m worried about what will happen in the meantime, and I’m constantly saddened by the empathy I have for them knowing how hard it must be to handle this all at once, at their age, and to lose so much so suddenly. My parents like many dont like accepting help or charity, but in this situation I have to reach out for them, at least until they get assurances from insurance that they will be okay. The Red Cross has put them up for 2 nights at the hotel but they were so downtrodden they stayed with us last night. I know during an economic downturn like this and a pandemic it’s hard to ask for any kind of gift or donation, so it’s completely okay just to pray for us, but if you have anything to give to help with the transition, I know they would sincerely appreciate it, and I sincerely appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Donations

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  • Anonymous 
    • 10 $ 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • 20 $ 
    • 2 mos
  • Carlos Flores 
    • 10 $ 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • 250 $ 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • 15 $ 
    • 2 mos
See all

Organizer

Nicholas Benjamin 
Organizer
Salem, IL
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