Samples Fire Recovery Fund

Through community support services, I have worked with Melissa Samples and her son Ben for the past 3 years. They have had perservance through many life challenges and last night suffered a tragic loss, narrowly escaping their 3rd floor apartment  via ladder, after being trapped when their building went up in flames. The building and everything in it is a complete loss; 18 departments responded to the 4 alarm fire; it took over 3 hours to contain the blaze; one person tradgically passed, 14 people went to area hospitals and Melissa's car, parked closest to building, was also damaged.

Let me take a moment to tell you about this family. Melissa is a single mother, raising 2 boys. She works 3rd shift as a nursing assistant, is there for her boys during the day and also attends Rock Valley College to improve her career. Despite being pulled in several directions, Melissa has always been engaged in Ben's education and has provided the structure, love and support a child needs. Melissa also largely supports Ben's older brother while he lives at home, pursuing training at RVC. She is the example of doing everything, without having much.

About Ben. Ben has been your typical teenage boy. He has always dreamed of joining the armed services or going into law enforcement. Despite some circumstances out of Ben's control, he has been able to stay engaged with school and is set to graduate this May. Ben has worked very very hard to get to the point he's at now. He has matured immensely and has proven to be very responsible, successfully completing an internship serving our community through Boone County Animal Services. He's also been regularly meeting and preparing to go into the service and has been accepted in as a Marine Reservist upon graduation.

Now we're at today. This beyond deserving family has lost everything. Melissa can't afford to miss work and Ben can't afford to miss school. Their cat was recovered from the fire but remains at the emergency vet.  They have lost all of their belongings and their car is damaged. I am not one to soliciate support but this family has been doing everything right to get themselves moving forward. This type of tradgic event has the potential to set them way back. It can affect Melissa's employment, her ability to finish the semester and Ben's graduation. I'm pleading that you help this family as they replace everything. They have been positive role models in our community. Not having family to support, we need to be that family. Please consider a donation.

Melissa is a beneficiary of this GoFundMe and has 100% direct access to these funds in order to use them for lost wages, clothes, rent, gas and food; basically everything she needs to start over for her and her boys. 

Stephanie Hicks, Youth Advocate Counslor - WIOA Youth Programming through the Workforce Connection in collaboration with Rock Valley College.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Stephanie Hicks 
Belvidere, IL
Melissa Samples