Posted: Jan 23, 2013 11:31 AM
JEFFERSON CITY -- On January 2, the Gardner family of Shelbyville, Missouri lost nearly everything they owned to a fire. On Saturday, the Lincoln softball team helped the family get back on its feet.
The Blue Tigers helped organize collections of household items, furniture, clothing and toys for Justin and Danielle Gardner and their son, Gus, to help the family begin rebuilding its home. The family had just moved into the home when an electrical fire, started by a faulty extension cord, began in Gus' bedroom. The Gardners, who all happened to be sleeping in the same room at the time, were fortunately able to safely get out of the house, but the fire ended up destroying most of their possessions.
"Unfortunately, the family did not have any insurance and pretty much lost everything," said head softball coach Nicole Stacey, who organized the collections. "I wanted to help, so I rallied my team together to start collecting household items, clothing and toys for the family."
Stacey, an alumni of the Central Methodist University-chapter of Delta Pi Omega, also called in the aid of her sorority. The Blue Tigers teamed with the Ladies of Delta Pi Omega, both alumnae and active, to collect, load and transport the items to the Gardners' home. Chip and Julie Malmstrom also contributed in a big way, donating a brand new Nintendo Wii system and several games for Gus.
"The response was overwhelming," Stacey said. "We completely packed a 15-passenger van full of chairs, clothing, toys, household goods and a couch. Gus had received a Wii for Christmas and only had it for seven days before the fire consumed it. Special thanks to Chip and Julie Malmstrom for going out of their way towards making a little boy's dreams come true."
Coach Stacey and another member of the Delta Pi Omega sorority delivered the items on Saturday. Stacey said the family was very thankful and overwhelmed by the support, and that Gus could not wait to play his new Wii.
"I am very proud of my girls, coaches, families and the Jefferson City community for coming together to help the Gardner family get back on its feet," Stacey said. "A special thanks also go out to the Ladies of the Delta Pi Omega for combining forces to make this experience that much greater."