When a neighbor is in need, a community often rallies to support.
USD 378 Supt. Brad Starnes and his family are experiencing this dynamic after their home sustained severe damage from a Sunday fire. No members of the family were injured.
Pat Collins, county emergency management director, said about $240,000 in structural damage was done to the home. Damage to the contents hasn’t been assessed.
Collins said the fire started because of an electrical shortage in the garage near the refrigerator, although it is unknown whether the fridge, an outlet or a wire caused it. The fire then spread to the house.
Members of the community, among then Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson and teammate Randall Cobb, helped family members sift through their belongings Monday morning. Nelson’s Landing provided meals while a couple has offered the Starnes’ a place to stay.
USD 378 is currently receiving items at its district office, which can be reached at 785-485-4000.
Sandy Glessner, board treasurer, said they received more than 30 phone calls concerning the fire as well as emails inquiring about what is needed.
“The community has really come together to see anything they can do for the family,” she said.
Monetary donations can be made at the Riley State Bank in Riley and Leonardville.
Quinten Pultz, the bank’s administrative vice president, said people were standing outside at 9 a.m. Monday waiting for the bank to open to give donations.
Pultz has close ties with the family. His wife worked in the district for 27 years including her last years as Starnes’s administrative assistant before retiring. Pultz said he expects education associations, the Starnes’ church and other organizations to continue their efforts. “They have a lot of support right now,” Pultz said.