Victims of Monday fire begin long road back

Red Cross not alone in providing help

The Russellville family that lost everything in the fire that consumed their home early Monday morning is slowly getting back on its feet.

Three generations were living in the home, a common practice in the down economy.

Melissa Russell was sharing the home on Gully Road with her grandson, Damon, 11, her daughter, Ginny Ousley, and her three children, Kailynn, 7, Mariah, 4, and Corde, 2.

In a News Tribune article Monday, it was reported the family was being helped by the Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.

The Red Cross is one of a number of area agencies reaching out to the family with resources including clothing, furniture and housing help, which is Russell’s main concern.

“There has been a generous outpouring of clothing and other furniture, but they don’t even have a place to put it,” said Phillip Iman, emergency services director at the Red Cross.

Once the family secures housing, the Red Cross will help pay the first month’s rent, which is why the organization asks for monetary donations that go into a general fund to help victims of these kinds of tragedies, said Beth Bauer, regional CEO with the local chapter.

“We’ve been living together for convenience purposes, but now we’ll be splitting up,” Melissa Russell said.

Gerbes Superstore on Schotthill Woods Drive, where Russell works, is collecting cash donations for the family. The store will accept donations and then issue the family a check. Brian Abbott, store manager, said to bring donations to the store’s service desk.

Gerbes has been helpful in more ways than one. The store’s pharmacy replaced Russell’s prescriptions lost in the fire. The store’s Cultural Council is donating Christmas gifts to the children.

The Samaritan Center, United Way, Salvation Army, the Redeem Project and Dreams to Reality have all offered help.

Russell’s family in Honduras also offered to help, adding to the generosity of people all over the region as far away as Tipton.

Their biggest need still is securing housing for Russell, her grandson and their dogs.

Damon has changed schools several times since kindergarten, so they would like to stay in the same area.

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