Let’s all help this family in need

By Joan Hadac

Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge

(708) 496-0265 • [email protected]

The holidays are usually a joyful time for families. But this year, the Zygadlo-Collopy family will be spending the time mourning and healing instead of celebrating.

You may have heard the story. The family home on the 5700 block of West 64th Street caught fire at about 6:05 a.m. Monday, Nov. 29—barely four days after Thanksgiving.

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Firefighters battle the blaze in the home in the 5700 block of West 64th Street. –Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire Department Media

Thanks in part to the working smoke detectors in the home, three of the four people in the house escaped with their lives; but firefighters found the body of family matriarch Susan, age 60, in a first-floor bedroom.

All three survivors were injured: Susan’s husband, John, 63; daughter, Melissa, 34; and Melissa’s son, Brayden, age 7.

John was said to be in relatively good condition and recovering. Melissa was in the hospital, getting breathing treatments for smoke inhalation. She was released Dec. 1. Brayden endured burns to his face, arms and hands and is recovering in the burn unit at the Loyola University Medical Center.

John, Melissa and Brayden have lost just about everything: their wife, mom and grandma, their house and everything in it, including two puppies.

Their neighbors are a close-knit group. One of them, Christina Padilla, has set up a GoFundMe page.

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A photo from happier times: Brayden at the ballfield with his gammy, Susan, and grandpa, John. –Supplied photo

“We are asking for assistance in getting this family back to some sort of normalcy,” she wrote. “Sue needs proper [funeral] services, hospital bills will accumulate and all of them have lost what they call home–while mourning a special woman in their lives who was their mother, wife and Brayden’s gammy (grandma).”

Brayden’s hospital stay will most likely be long, arduous and expensive. This is only one of the setbacks the family is facing. They will have to replace what many of us take for granted, the material necessities of life.

As I write this, 147 people have donated about $11,000—short of the $15,000 goal.

Will you please help? Please search your heart, ask yourself how much you can give to help a neighbor in need, and then visit gofundme.com/f/honor-susan-callopy-and-help-family-rebuild and get it done.

So often, we say Clearing and Garfield Ridge are like small towns inside a big city. Let’s all show our small town spirit by helping this family in need.

Mark your calendar

Do you love to raise your voice in song, especially around Christmas? Our friends at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church are inviting you to Caroling on the Lawn at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17 at the church, 5550 S. Merrimac.

Come raise your voices to the heavens and spread the Christmas spirit and all its joy. Carolers will be treated to hot chocolate and other goodies. For more information, call (773) 585-1094. Thanks to Sandra Silva for sending me the news.

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Joan Hadac

Over at the Garfield Ridge Branch Library, 6348 S. Archer, adults are being offered Christmas Cheer at 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16. You can join the library staff and your neighbors and friends for cookies, carols and conversation while learning about monthly programs and services offered.

Kids age 3 and older can take the opportunity to Make A Christmas Card through the library’s drop-in program. Come in from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20. Art supplies will be available in the children’s area. No registration is required, but space limitations may apply. All visitors over the age of 2 must wear a mask. If you don’t have a mask, the library will provide disposable ones. Let your kids’ imaginations run free through Christmas art.

More information is available at (312) 747-6094. Thanks to Patti for sending me the information.

Ready for some Christmas smiles? The Clearing Branch Library, 6423 W. 63rd Place, is showing a holiday gem, Home Alone from 1990 from 6 to 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 22.

It’s about a mischievous 8-year-old who is picked on by his older siblings and ignored by parents. He really would rather be left alone. That’s exactly what happens when he gets accidently left behind in a frenzied rush to the airport for a family vacation in Paris over the holiday season. After learning to fend for himself, the boy has to protect his house against two bumbling burglars who break in. This movie from Twentieth Century Fox stars, Macaulay Culkin, Catherine O’Hara, Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern. It’s 1 hour, 42 minutes long and is rated PG. Now remember, don’t slap your face too hard when imitating Macaulay Culkin’s famous move.

For more information and registration for this and other programs at the Clearing Branch, call (312) 747-5657.

This is a note for all you bingo fans: Rhine VFW Post 2729, 5858 S. Archer, will close Thursday, Dec. 23 and reopen on Monday, Jan. 3. This means no bingo on Thursday, Dec. 23 and Dec. 30. Bingo resumes Thursday, Jan. 6. The doors open at 4:30 p.m. and games begin at 6:45 p.m. Mark your calendars. Volunteers are still needed to help out at bingo. Call Joe Wiencek at the post (773) 284-9025 if you can help out.

Christmas is in 10 days. I hope you’re done with your lists and can enjoy the holiday stress-free. See you next week.