Mott community helps familyMOTT — Small towns are often known for their tight-knit relationships and Mott and Regent are no exception. Mott-Regent Public Schools, along with others in the community, have reached out to Desiree and Rick Poehls and their family, since they lost their home to a fire in November.
By: Ashley Martin, The Dickinson Press
MOTT — Small towns are often known for their tight-knit relationships and Mott and Regent are no exception. Mott-Regent Public Schools, along with others in the community, have reached out to Desiree and Rick Poehls and their family, since they lost their home to a fire in November.
The Mott-Regent Student Council came up with three fundraisers in December, which brought in $1,264 for the family. They presented Desiree Poehls with the check Monday.
Desiree said she came home for lunch a few days before Christmas and she and Rick, could smell something burning. She said they called a firefighter, but since there was no smoke or fire, they thought it was just a wood burning stove in the neighborhood. After eating lunch she drove back to her teaching position at Mott-Regent Elementary School.
“Before I even got to school my husband called me back and said ‘I found the smoke,’” Poehls said, adding it was in the bathroom. “I went home, and it had to be about five
minutes later and as I was driving up there was just black smoke coming up.”
Donald Schaible, Mott Volunteer Fire chief, said 24 firefighters responded to the fire, which took more than an hour to extinguish.
The family really appreciates the Student Council’s creative ideas, Desiree said.
One fundraiser was called “PJ’s for the Poehls,” where students could wear pajamas if they brought in a $1 donation. Another fundraiser was “Lids of Love,” and students wore hats to school if they made a donation. The Student Council also held “Pizza for Poehls,” and students paid $1 for a slice.
“For all of those things, we had a $1 minimum, but a lot of times kids gave more than that,” said Dave Libis, Mott-Regent High School principal. “We had good participation.”
Libis, who is also the Student Council advisor, said he and the Student Council put their heads together to come up with ways to help the family.
“We just needed to do something and the kids knew that forthright,” Libis said.
He added students put money jars at businesses and the staff placed baskets in faculty lounges for food and cleaning items.
Mott-Regent FFA members will hold a pancake and sausage breakfast to help raise more money Sunday. The event is from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Mott.
“We’re planning food-wise for about 300 people,” said Myron Schweitzer, superintendent of Mott-Regent Public Schools and FFA advisor.
Saving the family pets
She said her husband went through the garage and saved three of the six puppies that were inside. The mother of the puppies was outside, since the Poehls were trying to wean the puppies. Poehls said their cat, which was inside the house through the whole ordeal, somehow managed to survive.
It is unclear how the fire ignited but Schaible and Desiree think it was an electrical malfunction.
“I’m thankful that it didn’t happen at night or while we were sleeping,” she said.
Desiree said after the fire, they lived with family for four to six weeks and now are renting a home in Mott.
“We could not have made it through without family,” Poehls said.
She added they are unsure whether they will buy another home or rebuild.
“If we would go back, I think we would have to gut it down to the rafters,” Desiree said, adding the entire home was badly damaged by fire, smoke and water.
Very few possessions were salvageable.
Desiree said people outside of the school have also donated money, food, and gift certificates.
“They’ve been extremely generous,” Poehls said.
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