Family Rebuilds, Grateful for Support
The Benoit family thanks the community for its outpouring.
Bob Benoit of Grafton donated his time a few years ago to help rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Three weeks ago today, his own home at 23 Countryside Road was destroyed by a fire that reduced the family house to rubble within hours. This time, he was the one needing help rebuilding.
And, he reports happily and gratefully, people are stepping up to help. The family’s home and life are being rebuilt, thanks to the emotional, physical and financial support of the community.
“The outpouring of support has been incredible,’’ he said. “It’s so humbling. I can’t tell you how humbling it’s been.’’
A generous amount of money has already been raised through the Friends of the Benoit Family Fire Fund, which is based at Grafton Suburban Credit Union.
Anyone wishing to donate can visit the credit union during business hours: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.
Checks may also be made out to Friends of the Benoit Family Fire Fund and mailed to: Grafton Suburban Credit Union, 86 Worcester St., North Grafton MA 01536.
And he has received moral and practical support from his colleagues in the construction business. Benoit owns Benoit Construction in Grafton. He also owns The Print Centre in Needham.
But it’s the little gestures that get to him. The family has received cards from children, including a five-year-old who enclosed two dollar bills with a note that the child was inspired by Martin Luther King’s message of sharing.
“That’s the stuff that rips your heart out,’’ he said.
He said the family is getting a little stronger each day, taking “baby steps.’’
But the loss, of course is devastating. Other than a few photos and some jewelry, everything the family owned was lost, including such sentimental items as Christmas ornaments they had had since their grown children were very young.
And they continue to mourn their two dogs and cat lost in the blaze. They are working to have animal cruelty charges lodged against the alleged arsonist.
“So much of our life was taken, and for no reason,’’ he said. “In an hour, our house was gone.’’
The house where he and his wife Kathy lived was gutted by the fire and has been torn down. He decided to remove the burned shell as soon as he could. Leaving it there for any length of time, he said, would not have been fair to his neighbors.
Plans are under way to rebuild. He and Kathy have been looking at plans and working with mortgage companies.
With luck, he said, construction of a new home will begin in about a month.
As they move ahead with their lives, he said they will never forget the help they have received. “I can’t thank everyone enough,’’ he said.