Posted at: 07/19/2013 6:20 PM
Updated at: 07/19/2013 6:22 PM
By: Travis Dill
A fire destroyed two businesses and eight apartments in Cook just over a month ago, but across the street from the rubble the community held a benefit on Friday.
Only a pile of charred debris remains in the place of the Brown Building in Cook, but residents came together for a block party to benefit their friends that lost homes and businesses to the fire.
“In this community everybody knows everybody, and when something bad happens we're all there because it could be any one of us. Easily, any one of us,” Carol Wood said.
Wood helped organize the event because the fire destroyed a coworker's home.
“She lost everything, everything. She didn't even have her glasses. She lost everything so it kind of hit close to home for a lot of us. We really wanted to help her and the rest of the apartment building out and the two businesses,” Wood said.
Local businesses donated time and services to make the party shine. Dozens of kids filled several bounce houses and a big line formed at the dunk tank with the local principal as a target. All the money raised will go straight to the 10 friends affected by the fire.
“The other night somebody said $20,000 I said, 'Oh we'll hit $20,000 no problem.' If we get $30,000 I'll be really happy,” Wood said.
The donations will help the victims get back on their feet, but volunteer coordinator Ruth Huisman said the benefit means more than just dollars and cents.
“I don't think it's all about the money. We hope to raise the money, you know, we need the money, but also just so the eight tenants and the two store owners see that the community's behind us. I think that's real important,” Huisman said.
The fire left a big void in the community, but just about everyone in Cook was pulling together to make it whole again.
The block party runs through Friday evening, but donations can also be directed to the Cook Area Credit Union. The fund for fire victims is called River Street Rental Fire Fund.