Since the fire that destroyed her home at Glacier View Mobile Home Park on Dec. 17, Joanne Felipe has found that Juneau is a generous city.
"A lady at Carrs walked up to me, gave me a hug and $5," Felipe said. "We got donations from realtors, from anonymous people. A realtor brought some clothing and quilts. I still cry for my old home, but the donations have been totally uplifting."
After they were burned out with just a cordless phone and the clothes on their backs, Felipe and her husband, Knute Sr., have been staying with their daughter Melissa in their Sprucewood home.
"It's hard to focus," Joanne Felipe said this morning. "I tried to get shopping done for Christmas and stuff like that, but I felt I needed someone to go shopping with me."
Felipe and her husband have been sleeping on a twin bed in the bedroom of one of their grandsons. The crowded household is sheltering 11 people while work is done to ready a new trailer on the old site.
But the phone sometimes rings as early as 7 a.m., Felipe said, with people wanting to help. Don Graves, owner of Valley Lumber, dropped off "beautiful blankets" as well as a check for $300 and toys, Felipe said.
"He brought My Size Barbie, which my granddaughter had been asking for. My son (Knute Jr.) had stored some toys he had bought for Christmas at our place, and all those had been lost.
"Sue Horner with Catholic Community Senior Services helps my grandmother. She got my grandmother's medication taken care of. It was just beautiful," Felipe added.
"My husband's co-workers at Bartlett Regional Hospital gave us six $25 gift certificates for Alaskan & Proud (supermarket)," Felipe said. "Century 21 dropped off a check for $250. One of my husband's old school buddies, Lee Hagemeier, gave him a television and three beautiful warm coats. I was so happy to get those."
River of Glory Church contributed $389, and the owner of the fishing vessel Star of the Sea dropped off a check for $200 plus clothing for her adult sons, Brian and Knute Jr., who shared their home.
"We had a freezer," she said. "We lost deer, we lost fish, we lost everything, so we spent some of the donations on a new freezer. Somebody donated moose meat, and we stored it in there."
Felipe was looking forward to more salvage work at her old home today. "And they're starting work on my new home," she added.
Money is still needed to make payments on a new home at Glacier View. The account begun for the Felipe family at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union now holds $1,400, she said. Funds can be directed there, to the attention of Knute Felipe Sr.
And there's one more thing.
"We are also looking for our dog, a cocker spaniel-terrier mix who ran away on Thursday from the place where he was being taken care of," Felipe said. The dog wears a blue collar and answers to "Buddy."
Felipe can be reached at 790-5335.
Ann Chandonnet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.