To the Editor:
A crisis, by its nature, is overwhelming – for immediate victims, their families, and neighbors. There were 14 young men and one woman living in the house at 49 Mather St. when it went up in flames on Feb 10. They are now were without everything –computer, clothes, a home. How do we respond?
In this instance, we think Mr. Rogers, the children’s television host, said it best: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
With this letter, we would like to acknowledge and thank the helpers.
First, we would like to thank the fire fighters who came so quickly, rescued those trapped on the roof at their own peril, extinguished a raging fire, kept neighboring houses from burning, endured bitter cold for many hours. We wish the injured firefighters and tenants a complete recovery. We also thank our immediate neighbors who sheltered the tenants that night, giving them clothes and comfort, and other neighbors who have opened their guest rooms/apartments to offer temporary or permanent housing.
Dorchester House Multi Service Center is managing a fund for the victims to which $3,915 has been contributed from individuals, local businesses, and civic associations. We also received a huge volume of clothes, bedding, and household items, from which the tenants “shopped” last weekend. Contributors included heart warming notes, most often: “thank you for giving us a way to help.”
In response, the tenants have implored us to convey their thanks to you,such as: “Many thanks for all the help you have given us. The one bright spot of the fire is that I had a chance to experience the spirit of the Dorchester community.”
Not all of the tenants have parents, but some told us that their parents in different countries also expressed their thanks. One parent sent “the neighbors of Dorchester” a card to say “It’s nice to know there are carrying folks in this world that helped out in this time of need.”
We also thank the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services who facilitated connections to several resources, and the police, inspectional services, and other city departments who have responded.
Mr. Rogers was right – after a loss, look for the helpers. We are so fortunate to live in Dorchester, where our daughter can learn first-hand what a real community looks like.
Jenny Moye and Adam Gibbons