People rally around fire victim

G ranville rallies round fire victim

By Jaime Thomas

When Alicia Center and her friend were awoken by someone pounding on their apartment door to tell them the building was on fire Monday morning, she quickly threw a blanket around her baby and ran out the door.

Her home, which was above All In One Exchange, was completely destroyed by the time firefighters put out the in the Main Street fire that left a large hole where two buildings once stood.

“I’m thankful that my daughter’s OK, but I’m devastated,” Center said. She had no time to gather any belongings and lost everything, from clothing to photographs of her 10-month-old daughter. Members of the community, however, immediately sprang into action to come to Center’s aid.

“The community has been wonderful. I honestly don’t know what I did to deserve all this help,” Center said.

Rebecca Dittmeier, a real estate agent who rented Center the apartment, was among these people. Even as firefighters continued to battle the blaze, she reached out to others in the area to give anything they could to Center.

“I’m trying to help her get back on her feet; I wouldn’t want this to happen to me,” Dittmeier said. “It was the community coming together to help somebody in need and somebody had to start it.”

Public response was quick.

“In less than a day we’ve gotten things rolling with a bed for her to sleep in, dishes for her to eat off of, clothes for her to wear,” Dittmeier said.

With Dittmeier’s help, Center has already found a new apartment and is in the process of moving in. She said she has received money, gift cards, clothing for her and her daughter, toys, furniture, dishes and many other donations. Dittmeier said she’s thankful to live in such a generous community.

In another effort, Sherry Stoddard and others at the VFW Post 1653 have organized a benefit spaghetti dinner for Center and her daughter on Sunday, Nov. 25. There will be food, a 50/50 raffle and music, and all proceeds will go to the cause.

“I can’t thank everybody enough,” Center said. “Once I’m back on my feet, I’ll definitely do what I can to pay it forward.”

To donate anything, contact Dittmeier at 518-642-9030. For more information about the spaghetti dinner call Stoddard at 518-223-3488.

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