Heroes come in all sizes

(l-r) Morgan (12), Georgia (9) and Bailey (14)

Friday, night June 11, 2009 was a special “Mommies girl’s night” for Pamela Benson-Pauzé and her daughter Georgia, age 9, while her other two daughters, Bailey, age 14, and Morgan, age 12, were both at a friend’s house for an end of school year sleep over. This night filled with facials, laughs and movies ended with Pamela and Georgia falling happily asleep on the couch not knowing the next day their lives would be dramatically changed.

On Saturday morning Pamela was up early putting laundry in the dryer and talking to her Mom on the phone while Georgia was fast asleep. Pamela heard the smoke detector go off, but attributed it to moisture in the duplex as it has gone off several times before. She looked around and smelled a faint smell of smoke coming from the laundry room.

How fast one’s life can change in a minute and a half – that is all it took from smelling smoke to having a black cloud fill their home. Pamela through Georgia out of the house and told her to go to the neighbors, she called 911 and got out of the house herself. There she stood in shock as six fire trucks from De Pere were there in front of what was her home with her three beautiful daughters.

Pamela called her mother back to tell her what had happen and called Bailey and Morgan to tell them to stay where they were. Bailey knew she could not stay away; she had to be there with her Mom and sisters.

“It was really scary,” said Bailey. “There were trucks and police cars still there after I had come home.” With the fire extinguished the family waited outside their home to see if they could find their cat.

“While we waited a lady with the Red Cross came up with bags filled with little things like deodorant, toothpaste, Mickey Mouse stuffed animals,” said Bailey. “I was like wow, and it gave me a little sense of hope that even though most of our stuff was ruined, we could still go on from where we were.”

The Red Cross had set them up with a hotel for a few days, monetary assistance for clothes and groceries and homemade quilts.

“That little bag and those quilts meant so much and having a place to stay to regroup and figure things out, it means a lot having someone do that for us.” said Bailey.

Inside the kitchen after the fire.

Two and ½ years later settled into their new duplex and reflecting back on their experience Bailey wanted to give others hope. “Knowing all I know about the whole experience, I want to give back the kindness that was given to me, and help raise money for other house fire victims,” said Bailey.

That’s exactly what she’s doing. She has started distributing donation boxes at area De Pere businesses who will keep them up for the next month. She is also taking up a collection at her West De Pere Middle School. All the donations Bailey collects will go to the American Red Cross for other fire victims, like her, so they can also have hope.

“All our possessions were smoked damaged and we wouldn’t have them, and even though the possessions were a big thing – it was just amazing that we got each other and to be able to stay together as a family and survive that experience has been really amazing – for every family to feel like that would be amazing,” said Bailey.

Pamela agrees with how important family is. “It’s ok as long as we have each other, we would be happy in a card board box, as long as we are together.”

It is that togetherness and strength that has gotten the Pauzé family through all the challenges and struggles they have had to face. To this day, they continue to keep their “girls night” of food, fun while enjoying each and every moment together.

The American Red Cross was there for the Pauzé family, but Pamela, Bailey, Morgan and Georgia are the real heroes in this story.

One Response

  1. […] To read more about Bailey and her families story click HERE. […]

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