I have just been moved beyond words the last few weeks, that I felt I needed to share this story with everyone. As a member of the LDS church, I have seen people come together for the benefit of others on many occasions. However, I have never witnessed it first hand in a community outside of the church, though I’m sure this story is not unique to this specific town, it has restored my faith in humanity!
On Thursday night, January 31st, The Lillard family’s life changed forever! Their house caught fire, 4 of them barely escaped, while 2 (the 3yo and 6yo daughters) never made it out alive. Their house is left to ruins, 2 lives lost, along with all their earthly possessions. As a mother, I can not even begin to fathom the heartache this family is enduring. Though the mother, father and 7mo baby were all released from the hospital after a short time, the 8yo daughter remains (though is expected to fully recover).
This event happened in MD, near our previous home. The mother of this family is a friend of mine. With a 5 hour time difference, I awoke to this horrible news on the morning of Friday, February 1st. With social media these days, news travels fast, but they way I found out was remarkable to me. I found out through flyers for fundraising events that had already been set up to help this family. It had been less than 12 hours and people were already coming together to help anyway they could!
Since then many of many fundraising events have been put together, people have donated clothes, household good, breast milk, gift cards, money, items for auctions, commissions from sales, the list goes on and on.
The first big event was held the evening of Tuesday, February 5th at a local Chic-Fil-A restaurant. More than 3,000 people came bringing even more donations. They stood in long lines (both on foot and in cars) in the cold weather so they could to give aide to this family.
Tears filled my eyes as I saw Facebook status updates from all my MD friends, overwhelmed by the sense of community and togetherness. The Lord works through others, and I have witnessed it.
This entire event has touched me in more ways than I can describe; I wanted to share it with all of you.
For more information on how you can help the Lillard family, visit my blog. There are fundraisers set up with 31 bags and Usborne books on my blog page, as well as links to other ways to help. Most of all, I ask for your prayers. Please pray that Heavenly Father can help ease this families burdens, and find peace in this tragic time, as well as healing for their oldest daughter, whom is still in the hospital recovering.
*This is also a great reminder to reconsider your families fire safety plan, if you don’t have one….get one! I wrote a post about our Fire Safety FHE, which has links to many resources. You can read it HERE.
Update: Their 8yo daughter has been released from the hospital and continues to make improvements! Thank you for all the prayers!
Jen is a mother to 3 boys, and is in her second official year of homeschooling. She has a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education and worked with young children for many years before having her own. She likes to read, cook and get crafty. She is an Usborne Books Consultant and blogs at Chestnut Grove Academy.