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Area's generosity appreciated

December 2, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

To the Editor,

I don't live in Weirton, but the recent outpouring of compassion from many of its residents has warmed my family in amazing ways. On October 22, my family's home was destroyed by fire. All that is left is a hole in the ground full of ashes and twisted metal. We lost our dog and everything but the clothes on our backs, but our family is safe.

The house was located near Lisbon, Ohio, about 27 miles away. A river and highways separate our towns, but my tragedy was felt by many here. Just after the fire, my kids and I attended a sectional volleyball tournament at Oak Glen High School. My niece is the assistant coach for Weir High and asked me to attend. What happened after the games proved to me that the Weir High volleyball team is a championship squad, regardless of its record.

As my family came down from the bleachers, the team was waiting for us. In a classroom, far away from spectators, the girls presented my kids clothes, gift cards and money. One parent gave me a new pair of blue jeans which, at the time, was the only pair I owned. These girls gave to three kids they never met. They did it in a quiet way without calling attention to them, or us, but added a sense of dignity to the entire experience. My niece didn't ask the players to do this; they decided to do it on their own. This team didn't go to the state tournament, but they are far from losers. The Red Riders are true champions.

And, if anyone is looking for a church in the Weirton area that practices what it preaches, look no further than the First Christian Church on Main Street. My sister is a member there, and the church has poured out its love to my family in ways that leave me speechless. One member even found a dog to replace the one we lost.

Also, my son and I were in the Weirton Wal-Mart, making a list of items we lost. Overhearing us, a young male employee reached in his pocket and handed my 9-year-old son eight $5 bills. Amazing.

There aren't enough words I can use to let everyone know how much all of this means to my kids and me. About a week after the fire, Hurricane Sandy left thousands of other Americans homeless. In a way, I relate to their losses and I feel their pain. But, I have the advantage of living close to Weirton, West Virginia. People from my home community have reached out to me, too, but having people I never met do so much for me and my kids is special. This is a great community and everyone should be proud to call it home.

My family appreciates every single donation and prayers. From the bottom of my heart, thank you and God bless you all.

Jack Ketchum

Lisbon, Ohio

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