|By Pat Pheifer, Star Tribune, Minneapolis|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
"We know a lot of people," Haslett-Marroquin said. "We made it part of our mission to know people and to be known."
But the outpouring of support "completely humbled us," Marroquin said. "It's one thing to understand. It's another to experience it."
Since the family escaped with only the clothes on their back, the community -- led by a motivated quartet of high school seniors -- has donated meals, gift cards for groceries, money, household goods and labor. A
"This is the kind of thing they would do for anybody else," said
"They really deserve to have the community reach out of them in this way."
The Haslett-Marroquin family was hoping to find enough acreage to have a small farm when they stumbled on their "beautiful little house" on
It became their dream home, Marroquin said. They landscaped the property, put in a small greenhouse, installed a fireplace, replaced windows.
By the time the threesome had escaped and firefighters had arrived, the house was engulfed in flames. The family had only the clothes on their back. "I didn't even have socks on," Marroquin said last week.
The family moved into Haslett's parents' home and, for almost two days, they were heartbroken, believing that their dogs, Amber, a hound mix, and Katie, a beagle, had perished in the blaze. Marroquin even dug a grave for the dogs Thursday.
Then on Friday morning, Haslett was at the home's skeleton with the fire marshal. The fire marshall broke an egress window to the basement and there, alive, were Amber and Katie.
"It's just incredible," Marroquin said. "When Amy came home and I saw them drive up. She's beaming and happy. She's smiling. 'We found them! We found them alive!' Then I see them poking through the window."
Despite that bit of good news, Marroquin and Haslett watch their children closely for delayed stress reactions. The family has learned that they probably didn't have sufficient insurance to rebuild. The future is a little uncertain.
"We're not affluent," Marroquin said. "My wife is a teacher and I work for a nonprofit. We're not bringing in six figures."
But if Frenstad and her friends have their way, the family will get back on its feet. On Friday afternoon,
So many musicians volunteered to play that there wasn't room on Friday night's bill to accommodate them all. The students hope to organize another benefit concert for the family in January.
"I know Regi and his family. I don't know him all that well," Fried said. "We just kind of felt like we wanted to help out and stepped up to make things happen. The stars kind of aligned and it all got sorted out exactly as it should have."
(c)2011 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at www.startribune.com
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