I was shocked tonight when I got a phone call letting me know that the ConnectAbility office was on fire.
I immediately jumped in the car and arrived just behind the Georgia Power truck that was there to shut off power to our building. It looked like every fire truck & emergency vehicle in the county was there – lights were flashing everywhere. I pulled up and my heart sank as I saw melted siding and blank black spaces that were windows.
It was so bizarre to see the office where I just spent my day as a charred shell.
The Lumpkin County Fire Department did a good job extinguishing the fire and were thorough in making sure it was completely out before they left around midnight. They were kind enough to bring out some files and paperwork from my desk but it looks like everything else in the office is a total loss – either destroyed in the fire or from water or smoke damage.
An investigator is coming Wednesday morning to determine the cause of the fire. Nobody was at the office when the fire started and no one got hurt. The call to 911 came in at 10:18pm – thank you to whoever made the call. The fire station is at the end of the street so they responded quickly.
It was 11:00 when I arrived. All our data was backed up and while we lost all our computers & technology equipment, our files and info are safe and secure. I’m not sure if there’s anything else we can salvage yet – we’ll have to see tomorrow.
The “stuff” is easy to replace. We have a place to move our operations – and it’s right next door – thanks to our wonderful landlords.
No flames can extinguish our mission and passion to make our community a better place to live for people of all abilities. I’m not exactly sure what the future holds, but I can assure you that ConnectAbility’s heart did not go up in flames tonight. We still will work tirelessly to reach out to families impacted by disabilities, to highlight the incredible gifts we all have to offer and to make connections with people & organizations.
Please be patient as we work through the challenges that lie ahead in the next few days. Our phone was toasted, so we’ll get that back up and running as soon as we can. In the meantime, contact us through the website and we’ll get back with you as soon as we can.
How can you help us?
- Well, please pray that we will have wisdom and guidance to make good choices.
- Be patient as we slowly are able to resume operations and open channels of communication again. As of right now, our planned programs will continue! We will keep in touch to let you know of any changes.
- Please give a one-time or monthly gift to help us rebuild and continue to meet our mission of creating communities where people of all abilities are valued, included and empowered. All our programs are offered at no cost to the families we partner with. Your gift of only $5 a month will provide an opportunity for a child or adult with disabilities to participate in ConnectAbility programs.
- Show kindness to everyone around you and remember that everyone is facing their own challenges.
We will keep you updated as we get more information. This is a totally unexpected challenge but we will make the best of it.
Thank you for supporting ConnectAbility making our community such a great place to live.
-Jacqueline DanielSunset Photo by ConnectAbility photographer Angela Wilson