Fire victim thanks community for support

A Mint Hill family’s worst nightmare has come with a silver lining. On the evening of November 22, a spark escaped through a crack in the chimney and into the attic of Melissa Blando and her three kids’ home. The resulting fire caused enough damage that the house has to be torn down and rebuilt.
Melissa Blando and her two boys (ages 15 and 11) and one girl (13) have learned a lot since then, especially how much the community rallies around people in times of need. They have been living with her brother who lives next door.

The Mint Hill Times

The fire started when a spark escaped through a crack in the fire place and then ignited the attic.

Melissa said so many people helped her family in the days after the fire that she can’t remember them all to thank. She hoped this article would reach everyone to let them know how thankful she was.
The Blandos live on David Drive off Matthews-Mint Hill Road in Mint Hill. Melissa said she doesn’t recall a lot from the night of the fire because of the trauma and the chaos that surrounded the evening. But she does remember the Mint Hill Fire Department getting to the fire quickly and comforting her and the children as they worked to put the fire out. Melissa’s dad had passed away the previous February, and one of her son’s kept his wallet with a fire department badge in it. The Mint Hill Fire Department went into the house to not only get the wallet, but a stuffed animal that one of the other children cherished.
“I wish I could remember that night because they really took care of us,” Blando said.
The day after the fire, Melissa’s youngest son’s teacher and guidance counselor from Bain Elementary School showed up with shoes, clothes and other items for the family. In the days that followed, teachers from Independence High School, where her oldest attends, and Mint Hill Middle School, where her daughter attends, helped out with gift cards.
“Everybody has really embraced us,” she said. “It was just tremendous.”
The Blandos lost nearly everything they owned that night. There were some clothes that were salvaged, and a few furniture pieces, but most everything else was damaged in the fire.
“I learned a lot of lessons from that night,” she said. “Like to be thankful for what you have and don’t take things for granted and to be more humble.”
Melissa said she rarely accepted help from others before the fire because she was proud that she could support herself and her family. The experience, she said, taught her about humility.
She moved to Mint Hill in 2006 from a small town in South Carolina where she said everyone knew each other and helped each other out. When she moved to Mint Hill she thought she would lose the close-knit community feel.
“I thought when I moved here I would lose the small town, community feel. But this changed my mind. Everybody pulled together and I can’t thank everyone enough.”

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St. John Neumann Catholic Church gives back for holidays


The folks at St. John Neumann Catholic Church on Idlewild Road helped 30 families at the Double Oak Community Center have a more merry Christmas. Volunteers gave food, clothing and presents to the families to help spread the holiday cheer. More than 75 people from the church volunteered including the Boy Scouts, youth ministry and Knights of Columbus.

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Mint Hill family helps wrap gifts for hospice families

Christmas time is about giving, and one Mint Hill resident and her family are giving one of the most valuable gifts of them all: Their time. The Lake Wylie Pilot reports that Jennifer Ballard of Mint Hill and some of her family pitched in to help wrap presents for 14 hospice families in the Lake Wylie area.

“We aren’t doing much for ourselves this year, but we wanted to help other people. Instead, we want to give to people who need it.

“I have my family, a house, income … I everything I need,” she said.

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American Community Bank supports Operation Christmas Child

American Community Bank, including Mint Hill’s branch, showed their support for Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child gift drive this season by volunteering at the program’s Charlotte Processing Center.The Mint Hill TImes

Employees and their families have donated time inspecting donated shoebox gifts and preparing them for overseas shipment.

“This is the second year American Community Bank employees and their families have volunteered with Operation Christmas Child and we are pleased to have even more employees involved than last year,” said Bryce Friesz, City Executive. “It is a great opportunity for us to come together as a bank and as a community.”

Each year, the international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse collects donations of shoeboxes filled with children’s gifts, which it processes and ships to needy children in more than 130 countries. To learn more about Operation Christmas Child, visit www.samaritanspurse.org.

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Mint Hill dentist wants to help homeless even more this year

For 10 years now, Larry Sladek and his wife have donated meals to the Men’s Shelter in downtown Charlotte. They  donated $125 worth of food every first Saturday of the month, enough to feed 125 men. In recent years, their church, St. John Neumann Catholic Church, has helped out. They created several teams, one of which was the Sladeks, that each donated food four times a year.
After Sladek read a story in the Charlotte Observer on Sunday, he decided to broaden his scope by asking Mint Hill residents to pitch in this year. He is asking for donations of dry oatmeal and gently used men’s clothing that he and his wife will in turn take to the shelter January 1. You can bring by donations to Sladek’s dentist office in the same parking lot of the Mint Hill Police Department.

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Mint Hill Fire Department needs your support

The Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department is mailing a second request for donations to homeowners and businesses in the fire district that did not respond to the first mail-out in April. The fire district includes the town of Mint Hill and surrounding areas. If you receive the mail-out, please respond and support your department that provides fire protection and EMS services to you at no charge. They depend on your tax deductible support to provide the services.

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