On what was supposed to be a night of fun watching the UFC fights with his son, Craig Jess’s home caught fire. Around 7pm on December 17th, Craig sat down on our couch to enjoy an evening with his son and his grandbabies. 10 minutes after he got to our house, his 78-year-old mom called in hysterics to let him know that their home was up in flames. He immediately left and my husband followed. When they got to his house it was to discover that his home was gone. The entire top level which included Craig’s room, kitchen, living room, and porch was destroyed. In such a short amount of time everything that he has worked for, all his valuables and memories are gone. His stepfather was a fantastic painter and when he passed and Craig’s mom moved in with him, all his stepfather’s paintings came with. Those are all ruined, covered in ash and water. All his children’s childhood pictures, trophies, awards, certificates, and other memorabilia are destroyed and gone without a trace. Craig and his mom lost their home, their clothes, their furniture, their valuables: everything that was precious to them.
After the fire was extinguished, the rest of the night was filled with reminders of just how much this tragedy will affect my father in law and his mom today, tomorrow, and even years from now. Bobby, Craig’s mom, was home at the time of the fire. She was decorating their home for Christmas when the fire started. She is extremely traumatized and had to go to the hospital for a panic attack. Despite it not being her fault in any way, Bobby blames herself since she was home when it started. Everything that Craig’s dad had left him when he passed perished in the fire as well as all his family treasures, his step father’s paintings, and three sweet cats. They are both so very grateful that they are safe, but struggling with losing everything that was important to them. While being reminded of just how tragic life can be, we also witnessed something beautiful: family and friends have reached out and offered a place for both Craig and Bobby to stay and have been helpful in finding resources for them to utilize.
There will be innumerable expenses involved with rebuilding their home and life after such a tragedy. While the house is insured, I cannot imagine the financial expense of all that is not covered and the money that they will have to put forward to find temporary housing, clothes, and re-establishing some sense of normalcy in their lives. Just one week before Christmas, two amazing, loving and generous people lost their home. Let’s band together and help them out as much as we all can. Any amount, any donation, will be so very much appreciated.
- Carol Conlon
- Ike Hanks
- Kathryn Garcia
- Brian McMahan
- Lauren Balisky