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Dana family of Port Coquitlam rebuilding after house fire
A Port Coquitlam family who lost everything, including their home, in a Jan. 14 blaze is rising out of the ashes thanks to the support of the community.
Donations of meals, clothing, furniture and money have been coming in from individuals, charities and Hope Lutheran Christian School where two of the children attend. But the Dana family still faces some huge challenges, admits mom Kristie Dana, not the least of which is finding a place to live.
The house and contents were uninsured so the family has to rebuild from scratch.
"We don't know what we're doing at this point," said Kristie, who is expecting to deliver a baby boy in June.
The family has to find somewhere to move by Feb. 1 and finding a rental home with three bedrooms to accommodate Jamie, 12, Melissa, 15, Jeff ,18, and parents Kristie and Ron, is difficult.
Still, despite the looming deadline, Kristie and her children seem remarkably well-composed, even cheerful, when visited by members of the Royal Purple in their hotel room at PoCo Inn and Suites Monday.
Sally Hurst and her granddaughter Alex Fife, 19, were there to present a $1,500 cheque to pay for supplies, including possibly a laptop for the children.
"This is helping people in our neighbourhood, this is what we do," Hurst explained.
Royal Purple is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and Hurst said children are a major focus of the organization that is affiliated with Elks Canada.
Fife, who was introduced to the Royal Purple by Hurst, said it feels good to help kids her own age. "I can't imagine losing all the possessions in my home," she said.
As for the Dana children, they had little but thanks to say to the community that is helping them out. Their meals have been supplied by volunteers, they now have clothes and shoes to wear, which is a relief, because they were barefoot when they fled the fire two weeks ago.
Jeff, the eldest, who is taking online courses through Coquitlam Open Learning to gain enough credits for SFU, admits his faith has helped him through the ordeal and the family attends church in Abbotsford.
Melissa said she finds it hard to be cramped up in a room with so many people. "Sometimes I just curl up and want to be alone."
But for the most part, they seem happy and composed. Their room is cramped. There is nowhere to sit except on the bed, and when things get too close, they go for a walk in the neighbourhood.
Jamie, the youngest, said he would like to stay in PoCo so he can play baseball with his team again this year.
For Kristie, a trauma counsellor, and her husband, Ron, a mover, the experience has been tragic but also full of joy. They could never have imagined the community support they have received since the fire occurred. It has provided them with hope for the future.
Although Ron wasn't in the room, (he was out collecting donations), Kristie chose his words to describe the feeling shared by the family. "It took losing his home to realize he had a home. It sums up the the positives the best," she said.
It's not too late to help the Dana family get back on their feet. On Thursday, Feb. 13, a pub fundraiser will be held at The Burke Beer House, 2099 Lougheed Hwy., Port Coquitlam. Tickets are $15 for a burger and a beer.
A bank account has been set up to aid the family at Westminster Savings Credit Union. Cheques can be made out to Kristie or Ron Dana Association, account number 453799902.
Roma McPherson, Kristie's mother, has started a Facebook page to help the family called "Let's Get the Dana Family Back on their Feet."