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Help after House Fire

$17,265 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 235 people in 12 months
Created May 17, 2018
Snow Breakers
on behalf of Alan Shnay
On the morning of May 17th, my mother Elisabeth Brecher, step father Alan Shnay, and god brother Cordaro Johnson woke up to an electrical fire. They made it out safely as a police officer pulled them out of the house windows. At this point, they believe they have lost a dog and three cats, along with numerous valuable memories, keepsakes, and possessions. 

Here is Cordaro’s story of the morning “Well this is not how I thought my day was going to start. I woke up to smoke and instantly realized my house was on fire. Not knowing what to do, I grabbed my dresser and used it to climb out of my window. Thank God an off duty cop was driving by and came and helped me get the rest of my family out. House is gone I have some bruises and need some stitches but we are alive.”

They all still need to live their lives and have lost food, clothes, and shelter. Please help them as they try to recover from this tragedy. Anything you are able to contribute is helpful.
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We are feeling THANKFUL for you and grateful for so much more.

Here is an update from my Mom (Elisabeth Brecher):

"How do I go about expressing my gratitude for what has happened to me and my family since the fire that burned our home and forever changed our lives last spring? There are no words that seem adequate.

We have been helped by friends, family, and strangers alike, in every way possible to imagine.

There are times - in a world that can seem cold, ruthless, cruel, or uncaring - that we feel despair. It's tough to learn about some of the bad things human beings do and not feel hopeless at times. But I am here to tell you that for every time a human does an unkind, thoughtless, or even cruel and evil, thing there is also great good.
I have always believed strongly in the ultimate goodness of humanity. It's been a driving force for me, even while I have known of an awful lot of terrible things people do. We are basically good and my experience since our fire has confirmed and solidified that belief for me personally.

I am thankful for the 95-year old widower who gave us his beloved wife's kitchen things that he had not been able to let go of because they still made him feel connected to her. I am grateful to the small 5'5 firefighter who valiantly shoulder-carried my 150 lb. dog out of the burning house to safety.
I am thankful for friends near and far, who opened their hearts and wallets to help us recover, and recover with dignity. Many people made contributions to the GoFundMe account set up by a couple of our kids.

Those contributions have helped us in so many ways! They helped pay the expensive vet bills for our two dogs who survived but needed medical attention. They helped us purchase items such as clothing for Alan's work, where specific types of apparel are required.

The financial donations also helped us supplement when material donations fell a little short, as in the case of a few furnishings, a few clothes for me to supplement those that were donated, extra sheets and towels, some shelves, and a few pots for a deck vegetable garden at our temporary rental home.

The donations also helped us pay for a down payment and security deposits for our temporary rental home where we're living while the burnt house is rebuilt.

The GoFundMe account also helped our godson, also a fire victim. It allowed him to pay a security deposit and rent on the apartment where he's now living.

We have a few salvaged items in a storage facility funded by the GoFundMe account among other ways as well. There are so many little expenses you don't think of when you start from scratch.

I am lovingly grateful to all the first responders who helped tirelessly and fought the fire with everything they had. Those who were the first to give their time and money.

I'm grateful for our wonderful kids, all grown and scattered, who came and worked hard to give us help in every kind of way. I'm grateful to friends who lent Alan things for music until he could get his cello fixed.

I also need to mention the Red Cross, an organization that was there for us too.

I am also grateful to authors who wrote about us and our fire, and some who also helped us out by replacing some cherished books we lost in the fire.

I am grateful to my amazing and wonderful husband. This experience has been a thing that could try many couples, but which instead brought us even closer together.

And finally I am thankful for my wonderful in-laws. I can't possibly say enough good things about them.

So this year, when I lost so much materially, I ironically have more to be thankful for than usual. And I am grateful each moment of every day."

Thank you again everyone, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING to your family from our family!
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Another big thank you to everyone who has donated! Work is underway on rebuilding the house and everyone continues to heal slowly, but steadily. Because of the fire, an expensive sprinkler system must be installed in the rebuilt house. Combined with this unexpected expense, life continues to chug along and make plans more complicated. As soon as Alan found a way to repair his cello, he severely sliced his finger while chopping vegetables. In addition to the mental healing, they now require more physical healing, as well as more emergency room and doctor’s visits. Said trips have proved to be more difficult as the engine in Alan’s car gave out, leaving my parents and two giant dogs with only an aging and ailing van to rely on for transportation.

I have been so blown away with the generosity of so many friends and strangers in the wake of the fire. As my family continues to rebuild, any assistance would be greatly appreciated. If you are able to help in any small way, know what a big impact it makes and how thankful it makes all of us in the family.

Thank you.
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Everyone was to get settled in to rentals while everything gets sorted through.

Alan, Beth, and Cordaro are trying to settle into their routines. The day to day process is filled with logistics about the fire and recovery, but they are going okay.

We have started to sort through some of the urgent basic needs and initial feelings. They have a long way to go.

I also wanted to share an article our Grandpa Jerry wrote about the fire with you. His writing puts it well:

"The human body always seeks to repair itself after an injury. So does a community. " - Thank you again for all putting us in your thoughts and for donating!

"The fire change me"

- We are changed, but are are recovering. This week some of our family from out of town is coming to visit and help take care of items of a growing list; and we will be able to have some time together.


http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown/opinion/ct-sta-shnay-column-0529-story.html
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From Elisabeth -
"The night of the fire, earlier in the evening, Daisy and Wink together on the sofa. All are gone now; Daisy, Wink, and the sofa. Today it's really hitting me, and I have been feeling sad. Had weird, restless dreams/nightmares last night. Grateful for what we have, but also mourning the things we lost. Please, friends, hug your loved ones and your furbabies, and never take things for granted, and check your smoke alarms."
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$17,265 of $20,000 goal

Raised by 235 people in 12 months
Created May 17, 2018
Snow Breakers
on behalf of Alan Shnay
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