Today is the two year anniversary of the Galleria Fire. It is a date that is burned in my memory and my family’s history. My two sons, Noah and Cory, and their roommate, Alex, lost everything they owned, their pets, and their naivete about fire’s relentless nature. It was a difficult experience and the loss was great. But I would be remiss if I did not note that even in this great loss, we also gained from the experience.
That is the thing about these type of experiences – in the midst of tragedy often comes glimpses of humanity that buoys our belief that we will get through what we are dealing with. From this experience we learned firsthand about the heart of this community. We were humbled by the caring and generosity we were shown.
From this experience we met people – people we had never met before – who dedicated weeks of their time, energy, and effort to lift up the Galleria residents. Folks like Pastor Eric Renner and his wife Katie…folks like Janson Steffan and the members of Shepherd of the Prairie Moravian Church…real folks who stopped their lives to hold up the hearts and spirits of the residents. And there were businesses – dozens of them – all reaching out and donating items – from clothes and shoes, to computers, to beds. They gave unselfishly and without the community recognition that such heartfelt gestures typically get with media attention. They gave because they could and they wanted to, and in doing so they joined the collective that held up the Galleria residents through that trying time. From members of the community came money and truckloads of items – enough to fill the Shepherd of the Prairie Moravian Church wall-to-wall and a collection of donated storage pods outside. The broken hearts of the residents were patched up with a thousand small band-aids that represented the embraces of a community that rallied around them.
Photo by Michael Vosburg, The Forum
It has been two years since the fire and life has moved on, but we will never forget the fire of October 11, 2010. From the ashes of that fire came a powerful reminder of why this place we call home is so magical. From the ashes came hope in the form of a caring community – a community that was committed to the notion that neighbors help neighbors.
Thank you Fargo-Moorhead community for what you did for the Galleria residents in October 2010. In that event you exposed your soul for all to see and it was beautiful beyond words.
Day one thousand one hundred and ninety-three of the new forty – obla di obla da