America Together: Missouri small town rallies around family who lost everything in fire

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A family of five in Odessa, Missouri, had its faith in small-town America restored after losing everything Sunday in a house fire, amid the already stressful coronavirus outbreak.

The Villegas family’s house burned down, but the community, which is on a stay-at-home order with 20 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in their county, immediately rallied to help out in a big way.

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“Our home was still on fire when our neighbors first came over and offered shoes and coats,” Marilyn Villegas, a service-connected disabled veteran, told Fox News. “This was a blessing because none of us had any shoes on or sweatshirts.”

The Villegas family's home in Odessa, MO burned down Sunday. The community rallied together to help them in a big way.

The Villegas family’s home in Odessa, MO burned down Sunday. The community rallied together to help them in a big way.
(Courtesy of Marilyn Villegas)

Her husband works at the Kansas City VAMC as a construction crew work leader and the two have a 10-year-old son, 5-year-old and a 3-year-old girl.

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The family was offered free meals for the children through the school district, even though some of them are too young to attend. They received donated food and clothes, and temporary child care.

The Villegas family's home burning down in Odessa, Mo., on Sunday. The family lost everything in the fire but their town rallied together to help them.

The Villegas family’s home burning down in Odessa, Mo., on Sunday. The family lost everything in the fire but their town rallied together to help them.
(Courtesy of Marilyn Villegas)

“We were overwhelmed by the offers of assistance and our neighbors coming to the front of our property to pray with us,” the mother of three said. “The offers meant the world to us. I’m in awe of how much our town came together during a time where everyone is struggling and scared.”

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Marilyn’s 38-year-old husband, who has a severe skin condition and has been receiving treatment for three years with little success, recently visited the Mayo Clinic as a new patient and though they are cautious, they have new hope.

The Villegas family in Odessa, MO. The community rallied together after their house burnt down Sunday, March 29.

The Villegas family in Odessa, MO. The community rallied together after their house burnt down Sunday, March 29.
(Courtesy of Marilyn Villegas)

“This pandemic has renewed my faith in America’s resolve and willingness to help our fellow man. Our small, rural community is no different,” Villegas said.

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“While we are devastated that our home is gone, I am filled with gratitude and hope for what’s to come.”

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