SHERBROOKE – On the morning of January 4, Michael and Sharon Porter lost their home of 33 years in Harpellville to fire. The couple and their pets escaped the fire without injury but the house, where the family had raised their now adult children, was destroyed.
On Monday, Norah-Lee Goulding, a niece of the couple, spoke to The Journal about the fire and the community effort that has arisen to aid the family in this time of need.
“The house is completely gone...My aunt grabbed one of my uncles guitars and his banjo but those are the only surviving items,” said Goulding.
Along with others, Goulding has been working to help the couple in the aftermath of the fire. “The day that I heard about it I wanted to do something so I contacted Lynn Hayne-- she's the event coordinator at Sherbrooke Village -- about using the church to have a variety concert fundraiser. The minute I mentioned it to her, she was onboard. From that point on people have come forward offering items, to sing at the concert, baked goods and financial donations.”
Help has been non-stop since the fire says Goulding. “It is an example of people coming together for people who would always reach out and help others...They are such loving, caring people and I think the response from the community just amplifies that. Everybody is so willing to reach out to them because they have done so much for others.”
A benefit venue within Sherbrooke Village seemed appropriate to Goulding as Micheal Porter works in the Village as a carpenter and has played in the Courthouse Concert series on several occasions. “I just wanted to have the concert somewhere where there was a connection; so that seemed to be the perfect location,” says Goulding.
The couple are currently living in a cottage property owned by a family member.
The benefit concert for the Porters is scheduled for January 14 at 2 p.m. in St. James Church in Historic Sherbrooke Village. A go-fund-me page has also been set up for their aid at https://www.gofundme.com/brothermike.