It’s hoped the Grande Prairie community can once again come together for a family in need. A GoFundMe page has been set up for the McWilliams, whose Avondale home was destroyed by fire Saturday.
Todd and Shannon McWilliam, along with Shannon’s son DJ, daughter-in-law Victoria and their three-year-old grandson, are all safe and sound, but a lifetime of memories are gone. However, members of the community at large, and a tight-knit group of outdoor enthusiasts are working to help out any way they can.
“To help a fellow member in the community get through a really hard struggle right now while they wait for the powers that be to get their life back in order. They’d do it for anyone else they’d be the first one in line to help someone else,” says GoFundMe organizer Rolly Perron. “It’s devastating to lose everything in a flash. Gone, just like that.”
Neighbour Brenda Follert, whose house was one of two others damaged in the blaze, says Saturday was a terrifying experience for everyone involved. She has since been overwhelmed by the support they’ve received from total strangers.
“People are really reaching out wanting to help. It’s a really nice feeling to know that so many people care, and come together like that.”
Follert says the generosity hasn’t stopped there. She adds her children’s school has reached out offering gift cards for food and a local store has offered them a new fridge.
The Gofundme is set for a limit of $1,000, and at the time of publication was sitting at $350 collected. The cause of the blaze, which started around 2 p.m near 108 Avenue and 101 Street, remains under investigation.