If there was ever a question that food brings people together it was answered tonight in a big way. People filled the dining hall at Saint David's Episcopal Church Friday night in support of the Munger family, who lost their home to a fire during the February blizzard.
Stephen Munger said he was surprised how many different groups showed their support, he said his car club, his Scottish friends, co-workers, former co-workers, neighbors, friends and strangers attended the event.
"My knees almost buckled when I saw how many people were here," said his son, Mike. "This is fantastic. It's overwhleming in a good way."
The Munger home was completely lost during the fire. Stephen and his wife Eileen were at home, their son Mike and their grandsons live there but were not at home when the fire began.
Munger said the family was using two fireplaces that night because they didn't have power due to the blizzard. They kept the fireplaces going overnight and he and his wife each slept in a room with a fireplace so as not to leave it unattended.
Munger said the smoke detector saved their lives. The fire started in the room Eileen was sleeping in but she didn't hear it. Munger said he heard it from a couple rooms away.
"She had a lot more smoke in her room than I did in mine," said Munger.
The flames grew quickly and Munger said he only had time to save his wife, the dog and his lamaz blue 67 Pontiac Firebird that was parked in the garage.
"Anyone who doesn't have a smoke detector is crazy," he said.
The Mungers and their dog stayed with a neighbor for two weeks, said Stephen as they looked for a new place to live. Fortunately, Munger's employer is a property management company and they generously offered a home to his family.
During the event, Stephen stood and, with grateful tears welling in his eyes, thanked the room of community members who appeared to be enjoying a night out among friends and good food.
The ziti dinner was organized by Naomi Rodriquez and a bunch of helpers like her husband, Maik Schuller, Andrea Goodrich and Lauri Hary who reached out to a community eager to help. High school students baked, two elementary schools donated supplies, random community members donated food, members from several churches cooked and served, girl scouts waited tables and boy scouts cleaned up.
"You almost feel guilty that people are doing this for you," Mike Munger said.
The family is safe and together and picking up the pieces. The only one who's fate is unkown is their cat Rondo. Mike Munger is still hoping that Rondo made it out of the home in time and has found a safe home. Rondo is brown with white spots and had a blue collar on.