Benefit to Help Burn Victim and Family

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Published on July 14, 2010 with No Comments

“You watch your life; your history and memories just crumble before your eyes. Being literally washed away by huge, unrelenting flames. The fire has a life of its own and it is indeed unfeeling and unforgiving. It is truly a force not to be reckoned with. This thing; this powerful monster can look down on you and simply sweep away everything in its path faster than you can imagine. The devastation is deep.”

These were some of the words Carla Glassford used to describe her emotions after watching her home on Lincoln Street in Hobart be destroyed during an April 8 fire that left her 17-year-old son, Justin Alexander, with second and third-degree burns over 30 percent of his body. Justin, who suffers from ADHD, bipolar and a mild mental disability, spent nearly a month in the burn unit at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. where he had to undergo skin grafts to the upper part of his back, parts of his arms and both hands. He had minimal lung injuries from smoke inhalation but did suffer a seizure during his hospital stay. 

There are other lasting affects that this tragedy has bestowed upon Glassford and her family who are now staying in a rental home until their house can be rebuilt. The family’s two dogs were found dead after the fire while their cat was never found. Most possessions were lost but drawings Justin did were somehow saved. “We managed to rescue his existing drawings from his room after the fire so that he’d be able to continue adding to them,” Glassford said.

Glassford admitted that it can be almost overwhelming at times with such a big change and so many tasks to be done, but the family is finding that there are positive things emerging from the rubble and devastation that this disaster left behind. Glassford said that the outpouring of support from the community has helped out immensely.

While Alexander was in the hospital, the family received many gas cards to help with the costs of traveling, Hobart High School held a spaghetti benefit dinner in Alexander’s honor that the family attended and his fellow Brickies have collected donations during lunch time and sent him cards. Another benefit is being planned. 

Brenda Kleihege, publisher of The Chronicle, decided to host a fundraising event for Alexander and his family.  “Other than publishing announcements for other fundraising events, I don’t personally take part in hosting benefits,” Kleihege said. “I have a teenage son and we had been having a typical teenage son/mother argument the night before. When I heard about the devastation this family and teenage son went through, it put things in perspective of what things are really important and despite normal family quibbles, it is all about the love of family.”

The American Legion – Post 54 located at 208 S. Linda St. in Hobart donated its hall to host the fundraiser on July 18 from 1-6 p.m. The fundraiser will have food as well as raffles with one of the prizes being a framed drawing by Justin. To contact the hall, call 947-2054.

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