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Community rallies to support Burnt Island family who lost home to blaze

Volunteers take calls during a radiothon held to help raise funds for the Lawrence family, who lost their home to fire June 13.
Volunteers take calls during a radiothon held to help raise funds for the Lawrence family, who lost their home to fire June 13. - Contributed

‘Your kindness will never be forgotten’

BURNT ISLANDS, N.L. —

When fire destroyed the home of a retired teacher and her grandson recently, people in their Burnt Islands community were quick to respond.

Ethel and Neil Lawrence were left homeless on June 13. 

By the next day, Shirley Keeping and Winnie Munden had called a meeting to see how the community could help.

Just days after the fire, a radiothon raised over $10,000 for Ethel and Neil.

The event, which ran from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on 95.7 FM Coastal Community Radio, was organized by the Anglican Church Women (ACW) and Quilting Ministry in Burnt Islands, with the community’s Economic Development Board and recreation committee also stepping up to help.

“We held the radiothon (in the town hall) on June 16. The response was overwhelming. But, when people are in need, the support we get from our local communities is unbelievable,” said Nicole Keeping, who helped organize the event.

In addition to the radiothon, people in Burnt Islands and other communities also helped Ethel and Neil in other ways, including bringing them food.

Keeping said Ethel is a retired teacher and lay reader in their church. She is a quiet woman who is well respected by all, she said.

“The entire community was just devastated,” Keeping said of the fire.

On June 17, Ethel posted her thanks to the community and all who have helped her and Neil since the fire.

“I would like to thank all those people, who in any way, helped us both to get through this ordeal. To the fire brigade of Burnt Islands and the surroundings communities, to the ambulance drivers, the RCMP and the group of men and women who organized the radiothon and the whole community of people who donated their time, food and money, I send a big thank-you. Your kindness will never be forgotten,” she wrote.

danette@nl.rogers.com

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