The house fires that destroyed three homes Thanksgiving day affected the lives of many. As with many tragic events, the fire has shown how caring and generous the residents of Sedalia and surrounding communities can be in a time of need.
For one of the residents who lived in the apartment building that was the first to be destroyed in the fire, Matthew Anglin, his community has again come to show their support in a second time of personal loss this year.
“I can’t say thank you enough right now,” Anglin said Tuesday morning at State Fair Community College. “Everyone here and my friends and family and people I don’t know that well have been very kind and generous in offering their support and help.”
Anglin is a sophomore at SFCC and the president of Phi Theta Kappa, the honors society at the college.
As devastating as the loss of virtually all his material possessions may seem, Anglin suffered a much greater loss earlier this year with the death of his mother to leukemia in May.
Being with his family at Thanksgiving and the holidays was something he and his family felt was important.
“I was with my family in Brunswick when I got the phone call about the fire,” Anglin said. “I was pulling in to my uncle’s house at about 11:45 a.m. when my phone rang.
“I really just felt numb and didn’t know how to react to the news,” Anglin added. “Losing this was difficult, but I have gone through the hardest part earlier this year when I lost my mom.”
Diagnosed with cancer in April, his mother lost her battle one month later.
Anglin stayed at his Uncle’s only long enough to eat before returning to Sedalia.
“We came back almost immediately,” Anglin said. “The apartments were still smoldering and I saw the fire burn the house across the street from us.
“I stayed on the scene until the Red Cross took all the information they said they needed from us,” Anglin added. “Since I have relatives in town I stayed with them the first night.”
The Red Cross provided a debit card to Anglin so he could buy the personal items he would need for the next few days and weeks.
Anglin lost everything in the fire with the exception of his PC tablet, phone and his fishing poles and gear that were in his car.
“There have been so many people who have been kind and have stepped up to help me,” Anglin said. “Friends and family have purchased some clothes for me and the college has done so much.
“The honor society members have taken up a collection and so have the guys in the IT department where I work,” he added, “But there have been so many others.”
Anglin mentioned Kathy Rumsey, administrative assistant in student services administration, who owns the Old Iron Auction Co. with her husband, Kyle Rumsey.
“Kathy told me yesterday that I could stop by their business and take any items that were not purchased at their last sale,” Anglin said. “She said they had some surplus furniture and kitchen items I could have if I needed them.
“Others have offered clothing and the college has a student emergency fund that they told me about yesterday when I was speaking with one of the college counselors that has offered assistance too,” he added.
The fund was established several years ago, Dean of Student and Academic Services Dr. Joe Gilgore said.
“Several of the staff members said they would like to contribute to a fund to help our students in time of need,” Gilgore said. “The staff could contribute to the fund through payroll deduction or through one-time contributions if they wanted to.
“Typically our faculty and staff hear about student needs because they work with our students on a daily basis,” Gilgore added. “There is a formal process the students have to go through before receiving the funding, but it is times like this that our faculty and staff really step up and help others.”
It is through that personal connection of knowing the students that Mike Davis, one of two faculty advisers for Phi Theta Kappa, first heard of the fire.
“I got a call from one of the members in the club and we knew immediately we wanted to do something to help Matthew out,” Davis said. “We started brainstorming with the other officers and said we thought the best thing to do was to start a collection for him.”
About 10 percent of SFCC’s student body is eligible for membership in the society, which requires a 3.5 grade point average for admission.
“We have a lot of active members and many of them have been encouraging others to donate through student services or a GoFundMe account that has been set up in Matthew’s name,” Davis said. “I know he works in the IT department here at the college and those guys are helping him too.”
For Anglin, the support has been overwhelming.
“I can’t really assess everything right now,” Anglin said. “I have a friend in Pennsylvania, Jim Coyle, who is an online gaming buddy of mine; we’ve never met face to face but as soon as he heard he started to ask his friends to help out too.
“I’ve been in contact with the Salvation Army and they have paid a deposit and my first month’s rent on a different apartment,” he added. “There have just been so many people who have helped and I am so grateful to them all.”
As for the immediate future, Anglin plans to take each day one at a time.
He is a full-time student who works in the IT department between his classes and has a part-time security job on the weekends at Maxion Wheels.
“I will graduate in May, and had plans to start on a second related degree in computer network administration,” Anglin said. “I’m not quite sure if I will be able to do that now.
“Right now, I need to get back on my feet,” Anglin added. “I just cannot thank everyone enough though for their kindness and support through all of this.”
Individuals wishing to contribute to help Anglin may do so through student services at SFCC or at the GoFundMe account established in Anglin’s name at www.gofundme.com/manglin.
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484