RANSOM TWP. — Friday, Jan. 15 was a tragic day for the Surplus family.
It was the day patriarch Ron, his wife Peggy, and their three sons Aaron, Lucas, and Christian lost their home at the Sunset Mobile Home Park due to a large fire, which was contained by three local fire companies — Newton Township Volunteer Fire Co., Chinchilla Hose Co., and a fire department from Duryea.
The family lost everything, including many pets: two beagles (Daisy and Hunter), a shih tzu (Biscuit), a kitten (Crybaby), and a turtle.
Fortunately, when officials from Abington Heights Elementary School, where Lukas and Christian attend, heard what had happened, they immediately contacted local excavating companies. Schultzville Sheet Metal LLC and Appalachian Excavating & Demolition LLC from Clarks Summit not only volunteered to remove the remains of the burnt house, but also donated a new home to the family.
Schultzville Sheet Metal owners Paul Calvert and Travis Landsiedel and Appalachian Excavating owner John Pardue knew that the Surplus family, who were staying at a hotel at the time, needed help immediately.
“They (Surplus family) needed something now,” said Calvert, who saw this as an opportunity to give back to the family. “They didn’t have funding. They didn’t have insurance. We felt so bad for the family that we took care of the problem.”
Schultzville Sheet Metal and Appalachian Excavating installed a trailer into the same spot where the old home was located.
“They were a really big help,” said Peggy.
Michael Shea, owner of Anthracite Electrical LLC, of Scranton, reconnected new electrical panels and replaced the main feed to the structure, since the fire melted the underground conduits.
“Paul (Calvert) is a friend of mine,” said Shea. “He asked me if we could help. We saw that they (Surplus family) needed help, so we helped.”
A week later, on Jan. 23, the Surplus family moved into their new home.
And the community aid doesn’t stop there.
Local organizations Neighbors Helping Neighbors, Ransom Lions Club, and Countryside Community Church are sponsoring a benefit dinner, which will be held at the Newton Ransom Fire Company at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6.
Pasta, meatballs, salad, bread, and drinks will be served. The cost is $10 for adults and $8 for children. Dine in or take-out are available.
The dinner will have a bake sale provided by Countryside Community Church. The church members as well as people from the community have been donating baked goods, which were prepared at their homes. The dinner will also have raffle baskets.
“So many people have already volunteered their time to make and/or help arrange the baked goods, to help carry baked goods to and from cars, and to stand at the table, and sell, sell, sell,” said church member Karen Rickaby. “I’m consistently amazed by people who rise to the occasion when people are in need. Anne Frank stated, ‘No one has ever become poor by giving,’ and I think this event epitomizes that.”
Proceeds from the benefit dinner will go to the Surplus family.
“I am very proud to live in this community,” said Francine Fawcett, president of Neighbors Helping Neighbors. “I wish everyone could come together more often like this, and not just when there is a disaster. This community pulls together so no one ever has to go through something like this alone.”
Local organizations, such as Abington Heights Middle School and High School, Newton Township Volunteer Fire Co., Schultzville Deli, and the Ransom Township Municipal Building have donation drop points for the community to donate items, such as food, grocery gift cards, and household cleaning products. Schultzville Sheet Metal delivers the items to the Surplus family.
The Surplus family, originally from Moscow, have been residents of Ransom Township for five years. They are all grateful to their new community.
“They gave us our life back in a week,” said Ron, who is an employee of Mia Products, an Italian ice factory located in Moosic, which has also given a monetary donation to the family.
Aaron gives a special thanks to his science teacher, Mrs. Moss, and the rest of the Abington Heights High School staff for holding a clothes drive for them.
The Surplus family is glad to live in this community.
“You couldn’t’t ask for a better community,” said Ron. “For the people who don’t want to be mentioned, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
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