North Country residents know how to take care of their own

CHAMPLAINResidents of the North Country are part of a special community, the type of community that looks out for its own, stepping in when it sees a need. That is never more obvious than when one of its own suffers a disaster. For Michael and Gail Tacy, that disaster came Dec. 1, the night their Champlain home burned down. The fire, believed to have been started by a candle, destroyed nearly everything the family of four had worked for. But, as is par for the course, the community stepped in where it saw a need. Those efforts culminated last Friday in a spaghetti dinner benefit at the Champlain Knights of Columbus. Its just the way the North Country is, said Rick Dumas, Michaels UPS co-worker and one of the event organizers. For him, the event was very personal. Mr. Dumas is a volunteer firefighter with the Mooers Volunteer Fire Department. When the Tacys' home went up in flames, his department was called as mutual aid. Even though he was aware his friend and co-workers home was burning, he was unable to respond as he was at home alone with his own children. I just planted the seed, said Mr. Dumas, describing how he came up with the idea for the benefit in the days following the fire. Another co-worker and Knights of Columbus member, Lynn Bechard, then made the event happen setting the date, planning the menu, shopping and coordinating the 12 volunteers. Im happy, smiled Mr. Dumas. Weve served nearly 100 and were only half-way through. People have been helping non-stop since the fire, said Mrs. Tacy, as she watched a friend play with her smiling one-year-old daughter, Alexis. The transition has been hard for her. After the fire, friends and co-workers rushed to fill the void. Mrs. Tacys employer, Consolidated Apparel Group, stepped in with new wardrobes for the entire family. Their 16-year-old son, Eric, also lost his prized possessions, including his iPod and other electronics. Again, Mrs. Tacys co-workers helped out, replacing much of it. Friends Donny and Nancy Chenevert even furnished their apartment. They brought everything in and set it up, said Mrs. Tacy, thankfully. Its made it so much easier to get started. The familys home was insured and they are planning to start rebuilding in the next few months.

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