GIRARD, Ohio (WYTV) — After tragedy struck a family when their Girard home caught fire and displaced them, the community has been pitching in and helping where it can — including a local church and this week’s Hometown Hero.
Rhonda Gallagher is the pastor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church on the corner of East Liberty Street and Stewart Avenue.
“Since I moved to Girard 11 years ago, this whole town has always come together for everything,” says Gallagher.
When the family’s home caught on fire this past weekend, she jumped into action to help them.
“These are good people. The owner’s one of our Sunday school teachers, the sister-in-law is one of our helpers — but even if we didn’t know them, they’re our neighbors,” Gallagher says.
The church has paid for the family to stay at a hotel, and Gallagher even opened her own house to them.
“I just feel compelled to help, and I can’t do it myself,” Gallagher says.
So far, people have dropped off gift cards for places like Home Depot to go toward fixing the house, as well as money. One person is organizing a fundraiser.
“In about a week, she wants to have a drive-through-like, food delivery kind of thing. She doesn’t know them,” Gallagher says of the fundraiser organizer. “It’s each person, each prayer, each dime, each nickel — and it all adds up.”
Gallagher doesn’t consider herself a hero. She says she just put the suggestion to help out there and the community ran with it.
“I’ve done nothing but run my mouth. The heroes are really the neighbors that cared and called in when they weren’t even home: The fireman who gave oxygen to their cats and crawled around the house looking for the other two that were missing. The people that don’t even know them,” Gallagher says.
Along with the community, Gallagher considers the family a hero as well.
“They’re hanging on by a thread sometimes, but they’re still reaching for that hem and they still have that belief and they still have that hope, so they’re a hero, too,” Gallagher says.
Those interested in helping the family can contact Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church at 330-545-6210