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Beauty from ashes.

June 12, 2014

On May 25th I sent out an email telling you of friends who had suffered a personal disaster:  the loss of their home and all of their belongings to fire.  Trish and Rich Kuczkowski, along with family, friends, and neighbors stood and watched as six local fire departments tried for 3 1/2 hours to save where they had called home for the past 30 years. 
When I finally hit send for the final batch of emails I had already received a confirmation email of the first donation for the Kuczkowski Family to the Hope and Friendship Foundation PayPal for the Kuczkowski family.  You are simply the most amazing and compassionate army of walking angels I could every be blessed to live amidst. 
On May 27th (two days after they lost everything) I was able to visit with Trish and Rich and give them a check for $665 dollars and gift cards that were all donated by you, their neighbors and friends who heard their story.  Compassion and support that lifted their eyes from the ashes to focus on the hope of rebuilding.  However, you didn’t stop there!
Today I write to you to let you know that you have lifted this couple’s spirits and resolve by rallying a total amount of $8600 to date.  $4529 of that was raised at the “Beauty from Ashes” fundraiser at Tap House Grill on June 5th.  Extreme and deepest thanks to Jeff Biddinger of Tap House Grill for reaching out to me to ask if he and his restaurant could help.  Yes you can, and yes you did!!  Thanks to Fort Awesome Band for providing entertainment and to every single one of you who visited Tap House Grill on the 5th (offering 10% of your bill), purchased a prize or 50/50 raffle ticket or made a donation on that day.  That day did not only rally financial support but much needed emotional support for Rich and Trish.  You surrounded them with laughter, love, and stories.  You forced them to take a few guiltless hours away from the daunting and depressing task at hand of counting every single burnt and waterlogged belonging for insurance purposes. 
If they could offer you one bit of advice they have learned from this interactive nightmare it would be to take pictures, video and inventory of your belongings and your home, then store it online or in a fire safe box if you are not tech connected.  It is easy to think and act as if “it will never happen to me” but know that that thought was in the minds of many before they witnessed the loss of all material items they possessed.  Disasters do not forewarn or schedule an appointment. 
Thank you for bringing beauty from ashes.  Thank you for shining through and offering them your unconditional support- emotional and financial, and love.
Trish and Rich are back to the physically and emotionally exhausting task of counting burnt belongings but with the resolve of someday soon once again being Lemont homeowners and our beloved neighbors in this corner of the world.

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