STROUDSBURG, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Every year in the Poconos, companies and individuals come together to raise money for local non-profit organizations. The 13th annual Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser has raised over $2 million dollars. This year, the group chose six non-profits to help, including the American Red Cross of the Pocono Mountains.
Vinoo Ramsawak, his wife and daughter lived at their home in Smithfield Township for 26 years. They put a lot of work into making it their dream home.
“It was blood, sweat, and tears that went in to that house,” says Vinoo Ramsawak.
One cold January night, they started hearing crackling noises.
Ramsawak adds, “when I came downstairs and walked through the kitchen into the family room, I looked outside and saw the flame.”
The back of their home was already engulfed. All the Ramsawak’s could do was run outside and wait for the fire trucks in eleven-degree weather.
“We stay there and just looked at it burn down,” says Ramsawak.
Vinoo felt helpless, as everything irreplaceable went up in smoke. All he could recover days later were a pair of rosary beads.
“It was hard. It was devastating,” he adds.
Minutes later, The American Red Cross showed up.
“The night of the fire our disaster action team members were standing there right along side with him. Making sure we were there to say it’s okay,” smiles Michele Baehr, Executive Director, Red Cross of the Pocono Mountains.
Volunteers gave the family food, clothing, and a place to stay.
“After a few hours the fire went out. The house burned down. Red Cross was still there to support me,” says Ramsawak.
The Ramsawak’s have started rebuilding on the same spot where their old home burnt down. Vinoo says that ‘Red Cross big hug’ still means so much.
“That immediate support meant everything,” adds Ramsawak.
The fire chief says an electrical fire was to blame for this particular fire. The 13th annual Pocono Mountains Community Fundraiser will help the American Red Cross of the Pocono Mountains fund their fire prevention and disaster relief programs, so volunteers can continue helping families like Vinoo’s.
Eyewitness News reporter Brianna Strunk is emceeing the big event this year on Thursday, July 28th. That’s when we will learn how much money The American Red Cross of the Pocono Mountains and the other non-profits will receive.