NORTH BENTON, Ohio (WKBN) – Christmas Eve is a time of celebration, reflection, and foresight to what’s ahead, but a North Benton family didn’t have any of those. It lost everything in a fire.
Jeff Helsel and his family talked with WKBN 27 First News outside the Salem Holiday Inn Express Friday. The family of seven has a temporary place to stay because their home burned down on Christmas Eve.
“It’s just overwhelming. A lot of people that we didn’t know was there, you know, been there for us,” he said.
That list includes Helse’s employer Famous Supply. He’s a driver who works out of the Sebring location and delivers products, including to the Youngstown Warren area. A co-worker told the company what had happened.
“Soon as we see something like that, we try to reach out as fast as we can find out what they need. Find out what we can do to help,” said Elio Andreatta, a spokesperson for Famous Supply.
Famous has a family fund that has helped 118 employees. It provided food to the Helsels, extended their stay at the Holiday Inn until they can find a new place to live, and even arranged food for the family’s four dogs and one cat.
“I’ve only been there for months. And that place, they’ve been really great for me,” Helsel said.
Helsel’s son has worked at Famous for less than a month. The family is grateful for all of the help it’s received. Being confined in a small space is the hardest thing for this large family, and they can’t wait to find a new place to live.
“That’s honestly where we’re at. We’re trying to find somewhere to go. I think currently we’re here till January 8. After that, you know, we’re still up in the air just trying to find a place,” Helsel said.
The Helsels don’t know where they’d be without family, friends and Famous Supply. That Family Fund helps with gifts from $500 to $3000.
“It’s a fantastic thing that we do. I’m so proud to be a part of it,” Andreatta said.
Helsel said he knows better times are ahead.
“Hopefully, I see ourself comfortable down the road again. It’s just I don’t know when. You know, it’s hard,” he said.
In case you’re wondering, the Helsel family did still have Christmas and the children even got a visit from Santa. Nina’s Closet in Salem helped Santa find the children.