It takes a community
On a hot July afternoon, a local couple experienced the unimaginable when their home and property caught fire and resulted in a total loss of their home and vehicles.
Luana Lotspeich and Murphy McKinney lost everything—their antiques, furniture, identification cards and clothing. Murphy, who is also a musician, was sad to lose his musical instruments and studio. In addition, it devastated parts of their surrounding property, including their hot tub. The Crook County Fire and Rescue, Crook County Sheriff, and first responders prevented the fire from spreading to other properties and homes, fortunately.
"It did not spread to the neighbors or make a run up the hill to Century Drive, which brought much relief to many of us neighbors on that 109-degree day!" expressed Christina Lilienthal, a friend and neighbor.
The couple hope to educate other community members on the importance of being prepared in the event of a fire. The couple did not have fire insurance, and consequently, cannot monetarily replace the many items lost.
"Anything we can do to help other people, we would like to do it," commented Lotspeich of their decision to help educate the public.
A number of community members came together to help the couple as they began the hard work of clearing the aftermath, and were in need of temporary housing. They received help with cutting burnt trees, which could result in a hazard. Several volunteers helped clear rubble with a tractor. Thankfully, their greenhouse was saved. Red Cross helped them with lodging, as well as St. Vincent de Paul. In addition to lodging, St. Vincent de Paul helped to re-establish some water lines, since utility connections were all destroyed. A People's Rights group out of Sisters also gave them a car to drive.
As a result of the fire, several folks in the Prineville community began planning a fundraiser to help Lotspeich and McKinney to restart their life after losing so much. Lilienthal, who was acquainted with the couple, began the process of reaching out and organizing a Fun-D Raiser Party, with the help of Rick Steber-Makers.
"We want to make it a teaching moment or educational, to help people understand to see what it's like to be in that position," said Lilienthal. "Their sharing should help this be a learning experience for all of us; raising awareness, strengthening personal responsibility and hopefully help the community get better prepared to respond to disasters like this."
She emphasized that they would have a table with materials for fire prevention, as well as members of the first responder community to share and provide outreach to visitors.
Rick Steber stated that after meeting Lotspeich and McKinney and hearing their story, he offered to let them have the fundraiser at Rick Steber-Makers & Company.
"I said, if you want to have something here, that would be great. I will do anything I can to help you. There are just times it takes a community to help somebody back on their feet. I am just doing what I can to help them out by providing a place for them," Steber said.
He added that a lot of people have stepped up, and Lotspeich and McKinney have been very appreciative.
"I just thought that as a community, we need to give a helping hand up."
The Sunday, Oct. 10 event will include music with a live mic, cowboy poetry, a silent auction, games, door prizes, raffles, and lots of community camaraderie. Attendees are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs, and there will be water and pop by a 4-H group as a community service, with income above their expenses going into the fund for Lotspeich and McKinney.
Fun-D Raiser for local couple
For Luana Lotspeich and Murphy McKinney, who lost their home and both vehicles this summer in a house fire off O-Neil Highway.
Date: Sunday, Oct. 10
Time: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Location and host: Rick Steber-Makers & Company. 131 NE Fifth St.
Music (open mic), Cowboy Poetry, silent auction, games, door prizes and raffle
Bring your own lawn chair
For questions or for more information, call Susie at 541-550-6680 or Christina at 541-430-9992.
Private donations to: https://gofund.me/d3e7a092
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