After a fire destroyed the Leonard family’s home on Nov. 29, there has been an outpouring of donations from friends, family and the community.
According to family friend and neighbor, Chelsea Ellis, two of the family members are still receiving treatment at Parkland Hospital in Dallas — the father Jeff Leonard, and 4-year-old son, Jack.
“Jeff and Jack are still in the ICU at Parkland, everyone else has been discharged,” Ellis said. “They use a scale for the burn unit for smoke inhalation and it’s a 1 to 4 scale. So Jack, he’s a 1-2 on the scale, but Jeff he’s a 4 on the scale, so he has a long road ahead. When he is discharged, he’s not going to be jumping up and going to work, so all the monetary donations have been such a blessing.”
The GoFundMe page created by Ellis on Nov. 29 has received $25,635 of its $100,000 goal, and with the amount of items that have been donated, Ellis said monetary donations and a home are the main things needed by the Leonards.
“It’s everyone’s hope that the money raised can be used for them to live on for now. We have a house full of replacements for them, so our biggest concern is getting them a house to put all this stuff in,” Ellis said. “People really love them and everyone knows them and so when they heard about this, they just started pouring out whatever they could.”
Ellis said Jeff’s wife and mother to their six children, Sarah, grew up in the home that was taken away by the fire.
“Sarah grew up there in that house, on that property and then her husband and family lived there,” Ellis said. “They didn’t have insurance, but they own the land so we really want our neighbors back and we want them to have a place to put all these donated items.”
Jeff and Sarah’s six children are Katelyn, 13, Kayla, 12, Kristen, 11, Jack, 4, Eiley Rose, 2 and James, 6 weeks old.
Leena Pamela Ward — a community member who offered to assist — wrote a letter hoping for some help in housing and medical bills. The letter was to be sent to the hospitals that cared for the family in hopes of some expense forgiveness.
“Our hope is that someone will come forward with the generous donation of immediate housing for their land. If a home builder or manufactured home company could give them this Christmas wish, it would be a tremendous blessing,” Ward wrote. “It would give them the opportunity to begin rebuilding their lives. This is especially urgent because of Christmas coming.
“Jeff is a hard-working man who has never met someone that did not become his friend. He served as a volunteer firefighter. Sarah is a dedicated, loving mother who would do anything for her six children. Additionally, the family’s surmounting medical bills will be a huge burden on their future finances.”
Parker County Fire Marshal Kurt Harris had ruled the fire electrical and said it started somewhere in the kitchen area of the home.
Money can be donated to the family at www.gofundme.com by searching “Leonard Family lost their Home to Fire.”
In addition to the GoFundMe page, a bank account called “Leonard Family” has been established at Herring Bank in Azle.