It was surreal, especially since I grew up there - I was too stunned at first to even ask what happened and had to call him back to find out it was from a huge wild brush fire no one saw coming. They only had minutes to leave and got out with only their kids and their pets.
Later they were devastated to learn their house had burned to the ground and all their belongings were lost - furniture, clothes, tools, dishes, family photos, electronics...everything. They're good people and my brother's a truck driver and the hardest working person you could ever meet. He works long hours and when his knees hurt he goes to work....when his back hurts he goes to work...when he's sick he goes to work...all because he loves his family and will do ANYTHING to take care of them.
He'd never accept a hand-OUT, but he and his family sure could use a hand-UP right now!!
Our family is doing what we can but can't come close to everything they lost so please help if you're able. It's heartbreaking to see everything they've worked so hard for destroyed in a day.
Chris Sjoden (Post Falls, Idaho)
(ps-the photo is a few years old but it's the only family one I could find and theirs were all lost in the fire)
FYI-To help prevent fraud (a good idea!) GoFundMe is asking campaigns to specify how the funds will be distributed to the beneficiary (I've designated his family to make their own withdrawals so they're the only ones that can), and also to say how the money will be spent so initially they'll be using it to replace what was lost like clothes, personal items, school supplies, etc. and paying for a motel, then ultimately things like furniture, dishes, etc. and securing a new place to live.
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- Andrew Nelson
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