Community Rallies Around Homeless Military Family - NBC Chicago

Community Rallies Around Homeless Military Family

Indiana Soldier returns from Iraq following fire



    A Cedar Lake family learns a lesson about the kindness of strangers. (Published Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009)

    A fire that left a Cedar Lake, Ind., family homeless has helped reveal the strength of a community and the kindness of strangers.

    The Rekitzke home was destroyed by fire last week. Neither Anne or her four children were home at the time, nor was Christopher Rekitzke, who's serving in Iraq.

    But ever since the day the family lost nearly everything -- their dog, two cats and their belongings -- the donations have poured in, from neighbors, VFWs and American Legion posts.

    The family was overwhelmed by the support, which came in the form of money, food, clothing and tolietries.

    "It's amazing to have strangers turn into friends and family and make sure that you are OK," Anne Rekitzke said.

    But Anne received the most important measure of support when her husband Christopher returned from Iraq on Sunday.

    "This was important to see that they were alright, and they are going to be alright," Christopher Rekitzke said. "The real surprise is the people that I've never even met, just the selflessness. That people just showed up and started jumping in, making sure they were alright and that they had everything they need."

    The Rekitzkes say they plan to rebuild their home in the exact same spot -- among their old and newfound friends.

    "They opened their arms, they made sure we were safe, so we can't just up and leave. We've got to stay here," Anne Rekitzke said.