Community helping family after losing everything in Thanksgiving house fire
OKMULGEE, Okla. (KTUL) —
Friday in Henryetta, the kindness of strangers plus a whole lot of friends are helping a police officer in need.
On Thanksgiving day, he and his family lost everything when a fire destroyed their home. But in spite of the tragedy, Friday is another day of thanksgiving for Officer Theran Richards, his wife Greta, and their five children.
“Oh, there’s Cody’s clothes,” said Greta Richards.
The smoke is clear and the heartbreak is settling in for Greta. As her five kids look around what’s left of their home, she remembers her sixth child that should be here.
“It’s, all of Cody’s stuff is gone. I’m a little broken I think,” said Greta.
Her oldest son Cody died in a tragic accident while leaving Rocklahoma in 2015. So many of the things he held dear burned up in a fire on Thanksgiving afternoon, along with just about everything else the family had.
“It was ten minutes to one, I was fixing to put Thanksgiving dinner on the table,” said Greta.
The fire was cruel to them and the needy families they planned to help. In memory of the son who passed away two years ago, they donate dozens of toys to the Shriner’s Hospital each year for Christmas. Those toys are now turned to ash.
“I think it makes it easier to know, that maybe you’re making somebody else’s day, making somebody else feel better,” said Greta.
Now, it’s the community that is making Greta and her family feel better.
“Every single thing they own is gone,” said Lt. Doug Kossakowski with the Henryetta Police Department. All day long, people dropped off donations and money.
One young donor, Sophia, wanted to make sure they didn’t misplace her donation.
“She put her piggy bank in this bag,” said her mother.
“It’s not a huge piggy bank, just money,” said Sophia.
“That’s the best kind of money,” said Kossakowski.
By some miracle, unlike all the other cars parked by the house, Cody’s old pickup truck is untouched.
Just as the family was about to leave, thinking all was lost, the kids find a picture of their big brother Cody.
“I think it will just wash off,” said Greta. While holding a picture of her firstborn son, she takes special care wiping the soot off in only a way a mother can.
In this brief moment, all six of her children are close once again.
“That, this is a good moment,” said Greta.
Donations can be made at the Henryetta or Okmulgee Police department.
They have five children with the following sizes in clothes:
- 5T girls
- 6 in boys
- 8-10 in boys
- 12-14 boys
Adult medium men’s shirts, 32 waist.
Monetary donations can be made at ‘First National Bank.’