About nine years ago, smoldering ashes and concrete was all that remained of the home I spent 15 years of my life residing in.
Fortunately, my parents moved themselves and most of their belongings into a new home the year prior.
However, because my parents still owned my childhood home and they still had a few items there, my sentimental mother cried.
I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to watch a home and all belongings worked for over the course of years be reduced in a few hours or minutes.
Though renter’s insurance is mandated for the complex I live in, working in this business makes me a bit paranoid if something like that happened where I live.
Though it’d be a hassle to start from scratch, most of my belongings are fortunately replaceable — but my grandmother’s wedding ring would not be.
In January, panicked residents ran to the scene of the Lookout Ridge Apartments, which was engulfed in flames.
Understandably, many were on phones and talking to reporters was the last thing residents wanted to do at the time.
Yet I could hear some telling officers they saw the flames and ran as far as H-E-B to find out what was going on and if it was their building involved in the blaze.
Fortunately, no one was injured.
Since then, no known residents have come forward to speak about the incident, and there’s no telling how many belongings were lost.
It’s a notion that resonated with John Beliveau, a Nolanville Elementary third-grader.
Last week Herald correspondent Bob Massey spoke with John, who noticed the apartment complex fire when driving by with his family.
He told Massey he didn’t personally know the affected families but was sad some left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
“I just wanted to help these people and there are lots of kids at my school,” he said.
He started with making fliers distributed to all 775 students at his school and giving a speech to his class discussing what items needed to be collected.
Sometimes people seem cynical, thinking “kids these days” are self-centered. To digress, admittedly, I don’t mind asking kids around holidays what they want for Christmas, but the ones who think of others instead of mentioning a new toy or gadget that will become obsolete a year later make it to the top of the story.
Stories like John’s are the ones I earnestly seek. Many times it’s the people who are selfless who tend to also not be seeking publicity, though.
Last week, Harker Heights honored many of those people during the city’s annual volunteer appreciation ceremony.
Though tangible items from January’s fire will not be replaced — and it’s my hope some of the significant, cherished items were stored somewhere else — perhaps intangible selfless motives of a third-grade boy provide some solace.
Rachael Riley covers Harker Heights and Nolanville. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7553,