It could be any one of us

April 20, 2009

by Herald Journal & Enteprise Dispatch Editor Lynda Jensen

When fire strikes a home, the family loses everything in it, plus the home (if it’s bad enough), and insurance covers only major items that are remembered or documented in the house.

Some insurance covers less than this, extending only to items of documented value.

Pretend that you lost it all, and then go home tonight and tell yourself that your insurance company will compensate you for the crockpot your mom gave you, a favorite blanket, and your best pair of high heels. The answer is I don’t think so.

Aside from this, it is my firm belief that 80 to 90 percent of the public doesn’t know what their insurance covers in the event of a house fire; since everyone thinks it will happen to someone else. You find out when it all burns down.

Two years ago, I ran home after three fires struck homes within three months of each other in the area, and frantically asked how much insurance we had, and exactly what was covered.

I received a parcel in the mail from our agent that was about one-inch thick, and made no sense whatsoever. I didn’t get the answer to my question and still don’t know now.

I wrote a follow-up about the three families about six to eight months after those fires years ago, and the headline read, “Good, fair and poor. Winsted families struck by fire vary greatly in how they’re doing.” This was based directly on their insurance coverage, and what they settled with their insurance companies.

This reflects the population-at-large when it comes to insurance, I think; “good, fair and poor.” About one third of us actually search out insurance plans and make sure that we have what we need. Everyone else says “I feel sorry for that guy,” thinking it won’t ever happen to them.

Benefits: easing the grief and sorrow of what was lost

On to a related subject,; that of fund raising benefits for fire and accident victims. It is a promise to be kept when living in a small community that we support benefits that are hosted by hardworking volunteers willing to set aside their busy schedules and help.

Benefits for fire victims aren’t just a means of collections for worthy causes; they are also a social symbol of small-town support, where we can be part of the solution instead of being consigned to stand idly by, wringing our hands and doing nothing.

I heard of one fire victim who said recently that it was hard for him to receive such attention, but this kind of interaction blesses both the receiver and the giver.

It is a double blessing and allows the community to embrace their sorrow, helping to ease the grief associated with what was lost.

If we lived in a big city, where no one knows anyone else, we wouldn’t care about anything but our own business; and life would move on.

But we don’t. We choose to live in a small town where someone knows someone else, and together, we are like a large extended family with some weird uncles in it (ha ha!).

Unfortunately, there’s been a string of bad luck lately, and there are plenty of ways to help someone else. After all, the next time around “It might be YOU.”

Local benefits:

• A benefit for the Cody Krause family is being planned by the Winsted Fire Department May 2 beginning at 1 p.m. at the American Legion in Winsted. The Krause family home in Winsted was heavily damaged by an electrical fire March 28.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the benefit should contact Winsted fireman Gerald Heinen at (320) 485-3697.

Howard Lake native Chris Jensen, 23, was in a severe car accident about two weeks ago. A benefit to help pay medical costs is planned for Friday, May 8 at the Blue Note Ballroom in Winsted from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.

• The Lester Prairie National Honor Society is collecting donations for the Schauer Family of Lester Prairie who lost their home to a fire Saturday, March 7. Donations are being accepted at FCB - Schauer Fire Fund, PO Box 128, Lester Prairie, MN 55354.

Ready to lunge into spring

Spring is here, and that means there are treasures to be found during local community- wide garage sales.

Luckily, four area cities are hosting citywide garage sales on the same weekend – this weekend, Friday and Saturday, April 24 and 25.

This means the following cities will offering treasures to be found: Howard Lake, Cokato, Waverly, and Montrose.

The community-wide sale for Winsted is set for the weekend of Friday and Saturday May 15 and 16.

Quote of the week

“Badness is only spoiled goodness.” – CS Lewis, “The Case for Christianity”