by Danny Wade
A tragedy that struck Humboldt last week is pulling the community closer together. Donations are being accepted to assist a family that lost everything in a house fire and also claimed the life of a 7-year-old boy.
Sadly, Tri’Darrius Shaw did not survive the fire. Fire Chief Chester Owens said it is believed he died from smoke inhalation and not by the fire itself.
The Humboldt Fire Department is spearheading a drive to help the family. Several businesses and individuals have already made donations for the family.
Chief Owens and Assistant Chief Lee Kail said last week that people are already calling them, wanting to know where they can donate.
“We’re taking cash or checks made out to the Humboldt Firefighters Association in care of the West family,” Owens said. “The reason we started taking donations was because so many people were calling us, wanting to know where to donate.”
Others in the community are stepping up to the plate as well. Lonnie Cobb’s Humboldt Chrysler Dodge Jeep is putting the family up in a local hotel since the mother and two daughters have now place to live.
Sonic’s Logan Criswell and McDonald’s Tyler Gamble are friendly competitors in the fast food market, but they are also good friends and have donated gift cards to the family so they can have meals. Humboldt Sonic is selling $5 Community First discount card with all proceeds going to the family. Both McDonald’s and Sonic plan on doing more once it is determined the family’s most need.
The Stigall Museum has donated, as have the firefighters association and Owens Family Counseling.
Owens said Cash & Carry Castings, the used tire business in the former Brown Shoe building, would be donating 100-percent of the proceeds from tire sales last Saturday.
Chief Kail said someone called, wanting to donate a stove. Owens added that another caller had a mattress to donate.
There are donation boxes at both fire stations in Humboldt, the downtown station and the bypass station.
Owens and Kail said they are taking all donations. The family could use clothes, toys, furniture (no junk please), food, television, toiletries, anything will be appreciated, they said.
“It was good to have pastor Frank Cherney of Ebenezer Free Lutheran Church there,” Owens said of the preacher helping the night of the fire. “He talked with the fire department, the police department and talked with the mother at the ER after the loss of her child. We all needed that time of comfort. We’re all praying for the family.”
“Please make sure you have smoke detectors installed and working,” Owens urged the community. “The fire department will install them for free.”
Donations of money, food, clothing and non-perishable food can be dropped off at the fire stations. Kail asks people to call prior to bringing large items to be donated.
“It seems like the country is divided since the election,” Owens said. “Tragedy sometimes brings community together. Sadly, it takes something like this for community love.”