UPDATED: Community steps in to help family after house fire - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

UPDATED: Community steps in to help family after house fire

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Your home, vehicles, memories, everything, up in smoke. One Winnebago family made it out with only the shirts on their backs after a fire Sunday afternoon left their home in ashes. Now, friendly neighbors, some next-door, some the next town over, are helping out.

They can't get back what they had, but, they've got some new items to call their own. Westlake Village resident Michelle Hettich says there's motivation behind her selfless giving.

"To show my kids that you give what you can, and even if you can't buy things, you give what you can." -says Hettich.

From sweaters to shoes to bathroom supplies, surrounding communities like Pecatonica and Rock City, as well as Winnebago, are pitching in for this family. Angie Sakolari, who lives in the village, took it upon herself to organize the donation drive.

"I just did what I think any mom would do, any neighbor, any friend." -says Sakolari, mother of three.

Tables are full in the Westlake Village Community Center after just one day.

"It is amazing what happens when there's a tragedy, everybody comes together and it's really wonderful." -Hettich says.

Sakolari believes a lot of credit should be given to areas helping out.

"The fact that this community has stepped up for a family that most people have never even met really says a lot about Westlake Village and the surrounding towns." -she says.

The husband, wife, and three kids had just moved in to their new home.

"We had watched that house being built, and they only lived there for two months." -says Sakolari.

There's no word on what caused the fire, all we know if the family of five and their dog make it out okay.

Sakolari says the drive has collected plenty of clothing, she suggests people give grocery store gift cards or cash donations to get this family through the next few days.

You can make out checks to the Westlake Village Homeowners Association in care of the Upman family. 

The mailing address is:

3677 Westlake Village Drive

Winnebago, IL 61088


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