After a tragic fire that took the lives of five family members in Garden Prairie, Illinois, nine LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs and their handlers spent time with students and staff at the Seth Whitman Elementary School and Belvidere Central Middle School. One of the victims, Aniela attended the elementary school; she was nine years old. Zofia, who was 12 years old, and Danika, who was 14 years old, also were killed in the fire; both were students at the middle school.
The students and staff are still processing this horrible loss that happened to their classmates, friends, and neighbors.
LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Adeena (St. John - Burlington, Illinois), Mary (St. Paul's Lutheran - Janesville, Wisconsin), Samson (Zion Lutheran - Marengo, Illinois), and Tobias (Lord of Glory - Grayslake, Illinois) spent time with the elementary school staff before school and then with the students once school began. LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Bekah & Kye (Immanuel - Belvidere, Illinois, Eunice (LCC Staff), Levi (Immanuel - East Dundee, Illinois), and Myra (St. Andrews - Park Ridge, Illinois) spent the day at the middle school with students and staff.
Below are the names of those beloved family members affected by this tragic fire, as shared by Leona, mother, and grandmother of the victims.
My name is Leona; I'm the mother and grandmother of the family that lost their home, possessions, and, unfortunately, their lives in the devastating fire in Garden Prairie, IL, on Monday morning, March 7, 2022 at 2:30 am.
We are grieving the loss of five of my grandchildren. Manny 25, Elizabeth 21, Danika 14, Zofia 12 and Aniela 9.
Their mother, Jennifer, and brother Raymond, 20, remain in critical condition in the burn unit of a local hospital.
Manny, the oldest of seven children, was a great brother. He was employed at a local manufacturing company that produces insulated bags.
Elizabeth (Lizzie) was a new mother who was recently accepted into a local nursing program and was prepared to start classes in the fall. Her daughter, Katalina, was rescued from the home by her younger brother Raymond.
Danika wanted to be a gymnast. She was in the 8th grade and was looking forward to going to high school in the fall.
Zofia wanted to be a baker. She loved going to Grandma's and making all of the cookies, cakes, and any other baking she could get her hands on. She was in the 7th grade.
Aniela was in the 3rd grade and wanted to be an actress. So she would dress up in costumes and put on shows for family and friends.
Their brother Raymond tried to rescue his siblings from the second floor of the home but was only able to save his baby niece.
Their mother, Jennifer, is a stay-at-home mother who passionately loved her kids and farmette. She had goats, pigs, and chickens, of which most also perished.
Lloyd, the father of the children, and Jaime, the boyfriend of Elizabeth, have been released from the hospital.
Please join us in praying for this grieving family who has lost Manny 25, Elizabeth 21, Danika 14, Zofia 12, and Aniela 9.
We weep with you for this family and the loss they have suffered. We pray for this family to feel surrounded in love and care and to be sheltered in your healing arms. We pray for your strength and comfort for the family members as they move forward each hour in their grief. We also pray for the living family members who are injured and in critical condition for your healing, strength, and courage to grow strong again. We ask for your warm and comforting presence to surround the teachers and classmates of Danika, Zofia, and Aniela as they grieve the loss of their students and friends.
In Jesus' name, Amen.