The local community has gone out of their way to try and help a family in need after a fire Monday afternoon ripped through their home. Crews responded to the fire around 5:30 and while no one was hurt, everything in the Stephen and April Hansley’s house was destroyed.
"By Tuesday afternoon 24 hours after it happened, me and April got together and talked about it and we decided that we would focus on what we could do, which is go ahead and start to clean up,” said Stephen. “We would just take it one day at a time and rely on the community to try to help us because that's the only way that we'll make it through this."
Saturday morning, the community did just that – coming together to hold a fundraiser of donated items to help.
"After the election, we just decided that we were gonna focus on the community and helping the community,” said April, “and now the community is helping us,” she said, her voice breaking.
"The community came out because anybody that's in a crisis right now,” said Sherri Deford, one of the organizers of the event. “Especially in these economic times, we kinda gotta stick together and be a family, stick together, work together and take care of each other."
Items were donated throughout the week at the James Auto Center to be sold, from couch sets and pillows to books and shoes.
Despite their loss, the Hansley family remains optimistic about their current situation.
"We're just trying to focus on the positive things,” Stephen said. “We know that even though this is a bad situation that if we look at the positive and stay focused on that, good things can come from this."
If you’re interested in helping the family, donations can be dropped off at the James Auto Center in Panama City.