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Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response

Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response aids Bucyrus fire victims

(from news reports Jan. 31, 2013)

Benefit checks from a special fund were mailed recently to 10 families who lost their homes and other property when a wildfire tore through the tiny town of Bucyrus in October 2012.

The cash grants were from individual and organizational donors whose contributions brought the benefit fund to nearly $180,000, including a $40,000 grant from Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response.

A committee assisted by Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response scored the applications on a point system to ensure the money was distributed in a fair manner from the account at the Dakota Plains Federal Credit Union in Hettinger, according to manager Bonnie Lueck. She said the amount awarded to the five families who lost their homes in Bucyrus and five others who lost property in and around the community is confidential.

Bonnie explained that a point system helped evaluate how large a loss each applicant sustained so disbursements could be made accordingly and that Lutheran Social Services helped with the scoring process and was able to bring objectivity to the award process.

“The money can’t replace everything, but it will help people get back on their feet. It was very, very difficult because we live here with these people and it touches so close to your heart,” she said.

Shirley Dykshoorn, director of Lutheran Social Services Disaster Response, said she was impressed with the amount of money donated by so many people over such a relatively short time.

She noted that the Bucyrus fire victims have tugged at the heartstrings of Minot residents who lost their homes to flooding in 2011.

Several of the Minot flood victims have made “stars of hope” and will present these symbolic emblems to the people of Bucyrus at a Feb. 16 event at the Bucyrus Lutheran Church, one of the buildings left standing after the fire went through the town.

The stars are a way to “pay forward” the spirit of giving in the face of disaster, Shirley said.

Bonnie noted that the church has been collecting the dozens of general cards and notes of sympathy and well wishes that accompanied the cash donations and will display them. The Rev. Stephanie Swanson, minister at the Bucyrus church, also served on the benefits committee.

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