April 21, 2014

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Small towns, big hearts

By Jim Langham

My first recollection of people in a small community reaching out to others during a tragedy occurred when our neighbor’ s house burned. In fact, I was the one that discovered the fire, on April 8, 1958 when an elderly lady by the name of Stella Kraner was in her living room rocking, totally oblivious that black smoke was rolling out of the top of her house.

I still remember her cries of desperation as we brought her to our home. There was no 911 at the time so we called the fire department through the party line operator in a nearby village.

Later that afternoon, two of the older young people in town took a Ball jar and went house to house to collect for assistance for Stella until her house could be repaired (it was turned from a two-story to a one story that she always referred to as “the bunny”). The two youths collected $56.12 from our little town of 88 people, quite a substantial amount from so few people 53 years ago.