HAMMOND | Jennifer Shannon's phone has not stopped ringing since she vowed to organize donations for a Hammond family who lost everything in a fire Sunday.
"We're getting collections of clothing, furniture," Shannon said.
Shannon, manager of the Courthouse Bar and Grill and Comedy Club, 101 S. Court St. in Crown Point, stepped up to lead the collections after reading a story on nwi.com about the McCullough family's dramatic escape Sunday from their burning home at 916 Spruce St.
The homeowner, Louis McCullough, is unemployed and the family did not have homeowner's insurance.
"She's amazing," McCullough said Wednesday morning of Shannon. "I thank God for her and the entire community. I'm overwhelmed with thankfulness."
McCullough, 35, ran through his burning home wearing only his underwear to rescue his 12-year-old son, Treyvon, from the fire and suffered third-degree burns to his bare feet. His son, Louis Jr., broke a window with his bare fist in an effort to get Treyvon out of the home and underwent surgery Monday to remove a 2-inch shard of glass wedged near an artery in his arm.
Louis Jr. was released from the hospital Tuesday, his father said.
McCullough's wife, two other children and a friend visiting from Indianapolis all escaped unharmed. The family has been staying with Louis Sr.'s mother since the fire.
Shannon said she received a call Tuesday from John Manzo in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, asking how he could help. Manzo's family was the first to own the home and lived there for more than 40 years before selling to the McCulloughs in 2004.
Manzo said Wednesday that hearing of the fire "made me desperately sad."
"I grew up in that house, cheek to jowl with my parents and six siblings, and that home with all its love and energy then became home for another big family," Manzo said. "For it to be gone now makes my heart ache, but I am especially sad to read about the plight of the McCulloughs, especially when they were already down on their luck and yet demonstrating the decency to host a friend down on his. I could see that this story was about much more than a house, and given our connection I wanted to do something to help them."
Manzo pledged to send a check to help and is trying to spread the word on Facebook to garner more assistance for the family.