It was Sunday evening after Thanksgiving break in 2009 the Escobar sisters, Abby and Gabby (born just 15 months apart) were at their East Toledo home relaxing before school started again when their mother discovered that an electric blanket had caught fire upstairs in her bedroom.
The flames moved quickly across the carpet and soon their entire home was engulfed in flames. Emotions were running high as they called the fire department. As they watched their house burning, tears flowed knowing that they were losing so much. In the end, no one was hurt or injured, but the Escobars lost everything and did not have insurance to cover the damages.
“It was so sad to see my mom and sister crying,” says Gabby, now a Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School senior along with her sister. “It was also sad because it was right before Christmas and we had lost a lot of our belongings. We didn’t know how we would be able to replace it all.”
|Abby and Gabby Escobar. (Photo by Nick Amrhein/3BYONE MEDIA)
It was an unfortunate event, but the Escobar sisters say it showed them what being a part of the Stritch family really meant.
Gabby and Abby’s mother called the school to tell them what happened and was told the girls could have a few extra days off before coming back to class. Then, without asking, the school provided new uniforms for the girls.
But the Stritch family kindness didn’t end there. School supporters began to organize a spaghetti dinner to help raise money to rebuild and replace everything they had lost in the fire, donating food for the dinner. Additionally, donations were secured from Home Depot, which provided the materials necessary for rebuilding the Escobar’s home. And with Christmas just around the corner, other parents brought Christmas presents to the family.
The Escobars were able to move back into their home just three months after the destructive fire.
“I didn’t know the school was going to help. It felt really good to see that the Stritch family was really like a family,” Gabby says with a smile, and then quickly added, “They weren’t lying.”
Abby feels the same way, saying, “It was really nice of them to go out of their way to help us. I’m so happy I came here. It does feel more like a family than a school.”
Abby and Gabby are scholarship recipients, funded through the tuition assistance program at Kateri Catholic Schools.
Abby says, “I’m getting better preparation for college and even though it’s challenging sometimes, the teachers are here to help.”
(Reprinted with permission from the Kateri Catholic Schools Annual Report.)