MOUNT VERNON — On Nov. 21 a fire destroyed the home of Vicky Galle and her family. In the weeks that have passed since the fire, the family has received an outpouring of support and love in response to a devastating event. Vicky Galle and Shawn Phillips, along with their children Tre Phillips, 11, Tori Galle, 22, and Joe Galle, 24, have been making the best of the situation since the fire, which occurred a few days before Thanksgiving.
The Galle and Phillips family said that they have received a “huge outpouring of love” from the Mount Vernon community — donations of clothes, money, food, toys, goods for the animals and more. Vicky said a large number of young people came out to assist with anything the family needed.
“People brought things that I needed that I didn’t know I needed. I couldn’t probably even think for 10 days. We lost everything; you don’t know how grateful I am,” Vicky told the News.
Right after the fire, she said that the Utica Fire Department were “angels” to her and her family.
The community has indeed followed up with a positive response as many businesses, individuals, groups and even youth have given all they can to help the family out.
Todd Gregory of G&G Feed Supply said that after a brief encounter with Joe Galle while purchasing paint for the feed supply store, Gregory and business partner Jeff Gore, “felt the need to donate some feed to them for the animals as the cold was coming in.” Gregory added that Gore, who knows Vicky, knew of her “situation.” Gregory said they donated some clothing items for the youngest child, Tre.
“It was just something to help out; I hope someone would do the same for me,” said Gregory.
Darcie Litton, account manager at Dumbaugh Insurance, is Vicky Galle’s agent and knew of the fire from the beginning. Litton, as well as roughly the whole staff of Dumbaugh Insurance in Mount Vernon, were present with Galle after the fire was put out, as well as the day after.
“I think that’s a step that is expected of any agent to do that,” said Litton. “We were happy to be there, certainly in her time of need. It’s important to know that you have that support when your whole world is falling apart.”
“We were just doing our job as far as I’m concerned; the major thing here was that I truly did care. I’ve cried tears over this for her. It’s serious — I don’t know how anybody could see another person go through this and not have compassion and sympathy,” said Litton.
John Dumbaugh of Dumbaugh Insurance was at the scene of the fire alongside Galle and Litton.
“For us we just feel that it’s the job, it’s what we do — to be there for them and to help them recover from it,” said Dumbaugh.
“We also try to learn and to improve from each claim we have and how we can help the next person a little bit better,” said Dumbaugh.
He added that in the next experience they might try to move the homeowner’s items to a temporary storage unit for safety, which would be beneficial.
“We would certainly have a storage facility on speed dial and to help them move their stuff,” said Dumbaugh. “Each claim is different, you try to figure out what they need and help them expedite everything as fast as humanly possible.”
Dan Stephens of Danny Stephens Construction said they helped out the Galle and Phillips family as well. Stephens said they organized a group of people to “do the water and sewer and electric” for the “temporary home” that the family is in.
“I know we had to get electric out to the barn for the animals she has out there. They also needed heat and needed water,” said Stephens. As for the next step in the rebuild, Stephens said “we’re getting a draftsman in to draw up the new property as long as the insurance company goes ahead.”
“The rebuild could take up to six months, once we get started. Hopefully, we can get moving on it pretty quickly,” said Stephens.
While the Galle and Phillips family were getting things situated for a temporary home, they stayed at Comfort in Mount Vernon. Vicky said she was amazed with all the business had done for their family, especially Dorothy Krempel, front desk agent at the Comfort Inn.
“I got together some of my daughter’s friends and just gave her some things that we didn’t need anymore,” said Krempel. “She was in need so we pitched in and did what we could.”
In addition Krempel said she has a friend with a business who set out a basket to collect some funds as well as to “get together some clothes for their kids.”
“We just tried to be there for her if she needed anybody, just trying to take care of each other. We just try to help out anybody in need — a pay it forward type of thing,” said Krempel.
“I’m amazed at Mount Vernon. I’ll never look at it the same. Mount Vernon is special; people need to realize that and be thankful,” said Vicky.
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