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Family adjusts, rebuilds after a fire damaged apartments

A hearty "thank you" for assistance

August 19, 2010
OSSIPEE — A local family who lost their apartment and almost all their possessions in a July 30 fire in Center Ossipee is staying busy rebuilding their lives, but could use a little help making their new residence safe for their two young children.

Laura Kimball says she is very thankful for everything the community and her dad has done thus far, since the fire left her and her boyfriend, Chris Libby, and two young children, son Logan, 3, and daughter Alliya, 4, homeless and destroyed most of their belongings. She is most thankful that the children weren't home the morning that a building fire broke out at the building, located at 60 Route 16B.

She credits Libby for waking up at 4 a.m., smelling smoke and then alerting residents in the other apartments and calling 9-1-1 to report the fire. Everyone escaped safely, including the couple's four kittens and cat, one of which has stains on his underbelly from the smoke.

"He's our hero," said Kimball during an interview at her dad, Rick Kimball's, modest two-bedroom home on Hillside Drive. With Mr. Kimball physically unable to do much heavy lifting or other work on the property, Laura Kimball's mom, Kim White-Feather, is organizing a "Clean up Day" at the house on Saturday, Aug. 28. The family members are looking for able-bodied volunteers.

"We're trying to get the property cleaned up a bit, to make it safer for the kids. The home's dirt driveway area and yard could use pruning, mowing, and some filling in; some clutter needs to be moved or tossed, said White Feather. "We're looking for someone with a backhoe who can come in and help, maybe take out some stumps; we're looking for people with grass mowers, and weed whackers to clear out brush and clutter," she added. "We're looking for volunteers," she said. "Rick can't do it alone." She said Rick hired someone to take the trees on the property in exchange for $3,000, but the guy "skipped the state," leaving Rick high, dry and without the money he expected for the lumber. She said a complaint has been filed with police. Another item on the needs list is a car neither Laura nor Rick have one and depend on others for rides to work.

The time for the clean up is set for 10 a.m. to 6 a.m. The home needs a bit of work on the inside as well; the floors need to be reinforced and re-carpeted, and they need to make space for the kids in tight quarters. On the wish list is adding a third bedroom for the children, a project that Habitat for Humanity may be willing to take on, added White Feather. Donors have already provided some new bedding, household items and clothing, but the family could use a storage space to hold the items while the current home gets cleaned up. Storage bins, and small shelving units would be appreciated.

Both Laura Kimball and Chris Libby work full time, as well. Laura works at the Whittier House Restaurant in West Ossipee, where her friend and co-worker Tammy Starck has been "an angel." In a concurrent effort to assist the families with recovery after the fire, Starck is organizing a spaghetti dinner fund raising event as well. Time and place to be determined and announced at a later date.

While there is still much work to be done, it's gratitude rather than the long to-do list that fills Laura's heart.

"I just really want to say 'thank you' to those who have helped all the fire victims and thanks to people for just being there, for sharing, for caring. That's what I'd like to say," said Laura.

The New Hampshire Intertribal Native American Council, of which White Feather is a member, donated $500 last week towards the $700 cost of a rented Dumpster.

In addition, a relief fund has been established for monetary contributions. Wijokadoak has established the Wijokadoak Inc Kimball Relief Fund through Citizens Bank for the Kimball family. "We believe the easiest way to help out for most folks is to make a donation soothe family can purchase locally what they need. One hundred percent of your donations will be used to help the Kimball family. No donation is too small," said White Feather in announcing the fund this week. Donors can make checks payable to "Wijokadoak, Inc Kimball Relief Fund" and mail them to Citizens Bank, P.O. Box 1000, Manchester, NH, 03101. Your donation is tax deductable.

For a complete list of items needed, sign onto White Feather's Facebook page; log onto Facebook and type in Kim White-Feather.

To volunteer, call White Feather at 651-3268 or Kimball at 651-5303.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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