Reuniting the Anderson family separated by fire

Hello, my name is Valérie Rislove. I am raising funds to reunite my friends, the Anderson family (12 in this family), who have been living apart in different and often changing accommodations for over a year. The unfortunate part, and the real reason for this fundraiser, is twofold. First of all, the insurance money to rebuild the house just ran out halfway through due to the high cost of materials, which went up 3x and 4x for many things. Second, and as it turns out the straw that broke the camel’s back, a major life event has occurred, which I’ll talk about in more detail in a moment. All of this means that they will continue to live as they have, constantly moving and not quite as a family.

So my goal is to raise enough money to help the Andersons finish the plumbing, electrical, insulation, walls, siding and floors so they can come together under one roof!

What happened?

In August 2021, the Anderson family survived a major fire. Thank goodness no one was seriously injured! Firefighters worked diligently to minimize casualties. Thanks to their efforts, the main foundation of the house was not condemned.

Cleaning time.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of entering a burned building after fire, smoke, ash and WATER have taken their toll, you’re in luck. I still remember showing up with my boys to be part of the cleaning crew, and even though we all had high quality masks on, I nearly lost my lunch on several occasions. Blah and yuck! Truly, I tell you, it is a hard-working family. I nicknamed Dad the Energy Bunny after working alongside him.

Joy all around.

Even more than the smell left in my clothes and on my body for over three washes, I will never forget the unexpected sight of smiles and good humor on every face of Anderson! How is this possible, I thought? I know they were mostly relieved that no one was seriously hurt. Of course, I understand. However, everything necessary for life and the memories of decades of marriage and children have gone up in smoke. Ok, yeah, there were a few moments here and there where one of them saw the remnants of something that then triggered a shiver, a gaping mouth, and in a few cases, water blasts. However, these screens were quite far apart and few in number. I saw teamwork, even a few jokes and chants, and no complaints. (Okay, that’s not true, I complained a lot.) Between you and me, I know that their faith is responsible for such resilience.

Why fundraising a year later?

Last year, I asked the Andersons if I could organize a fundraiser to help them, especially after seeing the situation firsthand. They politely declined, stating that they had home insurance and did not want to withdraw charity to other worthy causes if they could make do with what they had. There was no way to dissuade them. I respected that and didn’t think about it again until I recently learned that the father had to have surgery from which he didn’t recover quickly enough, so he lost his job! Of course, the result is more health insurance for the family until he completes his recovery and finds a job. It’s a great example of being between a rock and a hard place.

Ok, so we have a large family with an unfinished/unlivable house, no one who can’t or wants to rent to a large family on a monthly basis, no job at the moment, and no health insurance? After much coaxing, they agreed to let me try my luck.

Progress progress progress.

They did as much as possible here in the Midwest before the worst of the cold season.

Plumbing, HVAC and ventilation have been largely completed since the start of winter. The electricity had to be redone, the frame and the roof were finished.

I want to salute the builder, Stan Prince of Stan Prince Carpentry. He and his crews have been phenomenal. Stan went above and beyond the call of duty, providing more than just professional services; he was a good friend of the family.

So what’s left?

Ok, so when the money ran out, here’s what was left: siding, drywall, flooring, the rest of the insulation, plumbing and electrical. First, the inspection of the insulation so far is necessary. Then the flooring can be finished after the drywall, followed by the cabinetry, light fixtures, wood stove installation and appliances.

It’s a family ready to do with basic and even used things. Instead, what I see is a family just trying to rebuild a house enough to pass inspection. Their only goal… to be together again and for life to resume.

Always smiling!!

Recently, they took a family photo that depicts their inner and outer beauty. I am impressed by their love for each other and that they live to help others constantly, even in their current situation. So please please join me in doing what you can to help this lovely family. No amount is too small. And for God’s sake, share the cause with everyone you know. Call it a virtual barn raise. (PS, I’ll keep you all updated on the progress until we reach our reunion goal!)

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