Many of you will recognize Kathy Gerstorff from our Inaugural Live Event……
She was not only a huge inspiration to our audience, she spent hours behind the scenes organizing and promoting the event. Just as she has done with numerous other causes she saw a chance to encourage someone and gave her time, her money, and her prayers. If you read her bio you know she is the author of three books, but unlike most authors she donated the profits to a couple of great non-profits. (The two most recent are still available on Amazon by clicking on the cover image below.)
What you may not know is a few weeks ago she and her husband Earl suffered a devastating loss and now they need our help.
August 22, 2014 torrential rains flooded rural Northeastern Indiana. Areas received up to 10 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. The home and business of Earl & Kathy Gerstorff had flooded before, but this time it was different. That morning they had standing water everywhere. While Earl was surveying the flood waters he noticed smoke coming from the building that housed their apartment and automotive shop. He quickly yelled to Kathy who was still inside their apartment trying to stay dry.
Upon seeing their dogs had not followed Kathy out of the home. Although Earl is a cancer survivor with only one lung, he went into the burning building twice to try to save them. He was hospitalized for smoke inhalation and although he was discharged a few days later, his health is being watched closely. When the fire team arrived they were initially unable to reach the burning building because of the floodwaters and live electrical lines.
Early & Kathy’s home, two dogs, automotive shop, tools, vehicles, and all of their household belongings were lost that day.
The Gerstorff’s had been working diligently to keep their home and business functioning and had made the difficult choice to not insure the property. At this time there is no indication that the area will be declared a disaster and receive rebuilding assistance.
That means outside of the greatly appreciated Red Cross donation of $600 they are starting from scratch. Even though the fire was on Friday, Kathy went to work Monday and Earl began clean up as soon as the fire stopped smoldering. You see, Earl and Kathy will rebuild. They’re the type of people who jump in where there’s a need and get things done. They have encouraged many of us and now it’s time to give back.
Their first order of business is to get Earl’s shop up and running so that they can begin generating income to support the rebuilding of their home.
One of the few things to survive are cases of porcelain hearts left by the previous owner. In the midst of the ashes there were thousands of shiny white hearts. Some were unaffected by the flames, but others have designed etched into their surface by the intense heat.
The hearts that survived the fire will be Earl & Kathy’s way of saying, “Thank You” to those that support their rebuilding effort. Donors can even to choose to have custom designs added to their heart by Kathy and her family.
Even in this time of devastating loss she continues her heart mission of supporting others in need by creating the $50 Pay It Forward donation.
We expect this to be the campaign’s most popular option because it allows the donor to send custom decorated hearts to a local non-profit (of Kathy’s choice) to encourage an unsuspecting recipient.
Kathy and Earl have designed this Rebuilding Hearts campaign to include the things they love: family, art, and paying it forward. Each person who contributes will be sponsoring a little piece of their rebuilding story and will be inspired as the story unfolds. Many have already donated and Kathy and Earl have been overwhelmed by your support. Late last week Earl met with a local building crew that has generously pledged the manpower to rebuild his shop once the family has enough funds to purchase the materials.
Click the image below to visit the Rebuild Hearts Campaign page and donate today!
Media links to their story…