On Thursday, October 15, 2015, my house had a fire. This fire cost me everything I own. I am grateful that my wife and son were not home at the time. The worst part was not losing all of my possessions, but my two black labs, Sydney and Lilly.
The reason for writing this is not what I lost, but what I gained.
I made two phones calls, one to Jaime Serrano and the second to Nick Konopa. The phone call to Jaime was to ask if he would take the time to talk to my professors and let them know that I would be out of class for a few days. The phone call to Nick was to ask for help on Saturday cleaning up the mess at my house to salvage anything I could.
What happened next was too much to comprehend.
First, teachers called and sent emails to let me know to not worry about school and to ask what they could do to help. Dr. Pohlman even asked if I needed a place to sleep and what kind of toys did my son like to play with.
Nick got with Dave Anderson, Scott Zborowski, Jordan Pugliese, Harsh Patel, Jamie, Serrano, and Bernard Misiak. Along with Dave’s fiancé, these seven engineers ransacked Walmart on Friday night. Friday, my wife and I were able to lease another place to live. Saturday at 11:00 a.m., six engineering students showed up at my fire-ridden house to help with a salvage operation. With the incredible efforts of the team, along with a few family members, the burned house was vacated in four hours and all the lost items were documented.
They helped me move into the new apartment, and still, they were not satisfied with the amount of help they had already given. It was time for shopping trip two. The second trip, they got everything needed for the bathroom, along with a toaster for my son’s waffles and a vacuum cleaner to clean the new apartment.
The most moving thing that everyone did for me was the toys and gifts for my son who is 20 months old. Everyone’s mission was to have a functional apartment, along with enough toys that my son would feel no pain, no loss, and especially no discomfort. My classmate, Dan Petschow had told his family what had happened, and even his three-year old daughter ransacked her toys to give them to my son. Dan said he had to stop her at some point because he was about to lose his tv, his couch, and everything else.
The College of Engineering and Engineering Technology has also been a huge help by finding me a scholarship that will make such a difference to us.
I lost my pets, my furniture, my electronics, etc. I gained the best group of friends anyone would ever dream to have. It has always been said that when life knocks you down, you have to pick yourself up and dust yourself off. It was nice to have friends that will pick you up and carry you if needed.
My wife Salena told me, “ I hope that our son grows up to be as kind and as helpful as these students have been.” They have set the bar for me, as a father, on how to raise my son.
There are so many people that have offered help to my family that I cannot name them all. You know who you are, and to you, I say thank you.