Overwhelming Kindness


To The Editor:
Our family suffered the tragic loss of our home to a fire last September. The number of people who extended kindnesses to us was, and still is, overwhelming.
There is no way to thank everyone who helped us as those first few weeks are a bit of a blur. I have never been on this side of the fence before. I am always the strong one to jump in and help. I actually turned away people in the beginning who were trying to help. The Shandaken Fire Department and supporting companies were heroic in their efforts to save our home, keep our animals safe and help us find housing. “We would be fine,” I told everyone...but you all knew better. 
People began bringing feed for our animals, jackets, water, toothbrushes, shoes, and gift certificates. The list is endless. When we moved into a rental, bedding arrived, dinners showed up and large amounts of clothing were placed by our door. Restaurants and waitresses refused our money, the Town Clerk in Shandaken, Joyce Grant, had an account opened for us at a local bank so people could help without being intrusive, Theresa Grant began a whirlwind of support and before we knew it there was a dinner to support our family.
The Slaters opened their home to our family (along with our birds), putting their own lives aside and making sure we were fed and watered and kept us focused on the future. The Village of Margaretville has been enjoying my baking for years and knew how important my kitchen was to us. They had an event that totally set up all sorts of kitchen items we would need. 
When I recently thanked some­one for their kindness towards my family they responded by saying, “I really didn’t do anything.” The thing that they missed was that each time someone had a kind word to say or offered us any kind of help; it was like having a crutch placed under our arms to keep us standing. Every time we would falter a little, there was someone else stopping by to encourage our renewal. When I walked into one store I saw my face on a can asking for donations. It was a strange, yet comforting to know that so many people cared.  
You don’t truly know how many lives you have touched in your lifetime until something tragic happens. The vast number of people who have helped us over the past seven months is astounding. 
We have now moved into our new house and we are working hard at making it ours. It does not have the character of our old house that had been built circe1875, but there are characters who live in the house so we will be fine. Know that everyday there are reminders of the kindnesses we were given and each of you have become a part of our lives and hearts for always.
My family would not be whole if it weren’t for the support we received from the surrounding towns and the com­munity we live in. Thank you to the Town of Shandaken, Andes Central School, the Village of Margaretville, the Town of Prattsville and all of the people I will never know, from Delhi to NYC, you cared to help us get to where we are. 

Tina Harp of Mountain Yarns with Vinnie, Gabrielle, Joshua and Rachael Harp