An entire community has mobilized to help the victims of a catastrophic fire. The effort was led by a local homebuilder who donated a 2,400 square-foot pre-fab house worth $100,000 to the financially-strapped family.
The generous gift was delivered on Tuesday to Calvin and Shirley Philbeck, a retired couple in McDowell County, N.C., on behalf of Cas Smith, the sales manager at Oakwood Homes in nearby Fletcher, according to ABC affiliate WLOS. The family’s tragic loss occurred just days before Thanksgiving in 2018.
Want daily pop culture news delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for Yahoo’s newsletter.
Miraculously, all five family members survived the fire, including the couple’s 23-year-old daughter Tabitha Gibson, who is epileptic and can’t walk or talk. Shirley told WLOS that she had kicked a window out trying to save Tabitha from the fire. “I couldn’t get her out because the bed was that much lower than the window,” she said. “So I just started trying to drag her.”
One of the Philbecks’ daughters was hospitalized for smoke inhalation, according to a GoFundMe set up for the family. Sadly, the family did lose several pets in the fire, including two dogs. The house was completely destroyed.
Smith told WSOC-TV that when he saw the Philbecks on the news, they reminded him of the “loving grandparents” who raised him, and he felt compelled to help them. “This means a lot to me in a lot of ways that these folks don’t know,” he said. And he didn’t just provide the house itself; he also arranged to secure funding for an extended warranty, sales tax and a year of homeowners’ insurance.
— Kimberly King (@KimKingReports) March 12, 2019
Smith coordinated volunteers from companies including Billy’s Modular and Mobile, Tri-State Distributors, Mel Frisbee Decks, True Construction and Clayton Homes to donate their time, labor and materials to make sure the home would be ready for the Philbecks to move in as soon as possible.
“I am just overwhelmed,” Shirley said. “We just lost everything, and I could have lost my whole family.” Calvin, a local musician, was humbled by the kindness of people who “didn’t even know us,” he said while speaking of the community that donated more than $13,000 to the GoFundMe campaign.
“I know Calvin and he has a heart of gold,” one person commented on the family’s fundraising page. “He is a great gentleman and has left a great impression on the community as whole,” another added.
The house was installed in the same spot where the Philbecks’ old home was, according to WLOS, in a process that took hours. The family expects to move into their new five-bedroom home next month. Shirley told her daughter Tabitha the news and was met with “a big smile,” she said.
Smith is grateful for the opportunity to help the family, and for the generous hearts of all who came forward to make it happen. “It’s been a blessing first and foremost,” Smith said. “But it’s been a lot of work. Just happy to be a part of it.” He added, “Today [the Philbecks] become the proud owners of a brand new home thanks to the community and everyone involved.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- Teens shovel snow from neighbor’s driveway at 4:30 a.m. so she can make it to dialysis treatment
- Sandwich-shop employee chases down and captures man trying to rob a mom outside the store: ‘You’re a hero’
- Couple donates everything in their house to firefighters whose homes were destroyed by Camp Fire: ‘We’ll start over; they’re starting over’