EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — When Michael Shoemaker’s house went up in flames, his whole world came crashing down. His life will never be the same. But with help of the community, he’s starting to rebuild.

“We’ve got each other, right bud,” said Shoemaker to his son.

Eyewitness News ran into Michael and his surviving son at one of the donation sites Thursday evening. Shoemaker is trying to stay strong for his son. Riley is back from the hospital, but there’s no home to return to.

Michael and Riley narrowly escaped the fire Wednesday morning along with his brother-in-law, and his stepson Gavin, who is still recovering in the hospital. His wife Georgette, his son Mike Jr., his mother-in-law and his nephew never made it out.

Thomas’ Family Market in Shickshinny is collecting clothes and monetary donations to help Michael and his remaining family members rebuild. Michael and Riley came to pick up some of the donated clothes.

“I just came down. I was here earlier and there was a few things in there but man, what a difference in a couple hours. I come here now and it’s full. It’s amazing,” Shoemaker said.

Michael says the market has always been good to his family. He started working there in August. His wife was a manager.

“All the employees here are great. I come in here today and they’re open arms, wanting to know how I’m doing, how’s the kids, how’s everything going, what we needed….It’s just overwhelming,” Shoemaker said.

There’s another donation jar at Food Express just down the road.

“The people in this town are amazing. The donations that have been coming in, the store…Moneywise, the clothes, the GoFundMe account,” Shoemaker said.

Michael says the community’s generosity means he can plan a nice funeral service for his wife, son, mother-in-law and nephew. The donations also fund hope that they can start over and be okay. And that Michael can provide a good life for his son, after so much loss.

“Getting him stuff he needs…Whatever he wants, I’m going to get him. I want to get him a TV and stuff now, he doesn’t have that. My sister-in-law is getting him a gaming system just to keep his mind occupied. It’s just him right now until I can see Gavin,” Shoemaker said. “He knows I’m here for him…I won’t let nothing hurt him, won’t let anybody hurt him.”

There will be a candlelight vigil behind Curry Donuts in Shickshinny on Monday at 5 p.m. If you want to drop off donations, you can do so at Thomas’ Family Market in Shickshinny. Monetary donations are being accepted at Food Express/Sunoco in Shickshinny. Evergreen Raceway will also be accepting clothing donations and monetary donations Saturday February 5th from 10-12 at the track.

The boys are also in need of school supplies. Their clothing sizes can be found here:

Pants -36×32
Shirts- Men’s XL

He prefers sweatpants and basketball shorts
Pants- Men’s XL
Shirts- Men’s XL

14/16 in boys/kids
Maybe even a Men’s Small

Pants- 38×32
Shirts- Men’s XL

Shoe sizes:

  • Mike- Men’s 10 or 10 1/2
  • Clifford- Men’s 13
  • Gavin- Men’s 9/10
  • Riley- Men’s 9