A Kline Township family struggling to perform needed repairs to their home following Tropical Storm Sandy received some unexpected assistance from two Carbon County businesses.
"After reading the article in the TIMES NEWS about a Kline Township family and the damage that Sandy had caused to their home, we knew we needed to do something to help," said Paula Gower of Home Solutions Partners, Inc.
Home Solutions Partners Inc., with support of Palmerton Lumber Company and Quality Roofing Supply, were quick to come to the aid of the Bahrey family after a large tree had fallen on their ranch-style home on Haddock Road, causing major structural damage and leakage.
"This man had given up so much so that we could enjoy the freedoms we have," added Gower, as she praised the father's (Russell Bahrey) military background.
Since the governor did not declare many counties or communities in our area under a state of emergency, little, if any, federal assistance was available for area homeowners in desperate need of help.
"After the tree landed on our home, we couldn't afford to fix our home and had no place to go long-term," said father Russell Bahrey Jr., 63, who spent the last 10 years and put his life-savings into the home.
Even though the tree had been removed following the storm, the family of six was still living in the heavily damaged home.
Damage from the storm was so severe, that all four walls were warped or bent, causing cold air and rain water to leak in.
"We've tried every state and county agency, but no one could help us," said Bahrey, a disabled Vietnam veteran. "Initially, the only help available to us was from the Tamaqua Salvation Army, who provided us food, paid our electric bill and offered a shelter for all my family in their gymnasium."
"I never ask for anything," said Bahrey. "That is what makes it so hard."
The family lost their homeowner's insurance three weeks before the storm.
"It would only have cost us $70 to pay for our homeowners insurance," said Bahrey, who survives solely on his social security payments. "But we honestly couldn't afford it."
The family was using a mattress and metal box spring to hold up the tarps, which stretched the majority of the home's length.
"Even though I am disabled, I've always been able to take care of my family, even doing major home repairs myself," said Bahrey, expressing his anger over not being able to afford repairs.
"We can't begin to tell everyone who unexpectedly came to our rescue how much we appreciate what they've done for our family," he added.
Organizations who also provided support consisted of Schuylkill County VOAD, American Red Cross, Tamaqua Volunteers group, Opportunity House of Schuylkill County and Schuylkill County Disaster Recovery Coalition.
Volunteers said that the TIMES NEWS story also resulted in $1,700 from its readers to the family.
The Tamaqua Volunteers group pointed out that the family is still hoping to cut down a large tree hanging dangerously over their house following the storm.
They added that a fund they created for the Bahrey family is still open. To donate, stop at any Wells Fargo Bank and state you would like to give a donation to the "15 Haddock Fund."
"Because of all these nice people and their fine work, we have a home again," said Bahrey. "Their kindness made our holidays one we could enjoy."