Brenda Holland’s had some tough Christmases in her lifetime.
“But this year,” Holland said, catching a tear with her index finger as it reached the rim of her glasses lens, “I’ve lost everything. It’s all gone.”
Holland’s home at 510 Melwood burned down Thursday evening, and what wasn’t completely destroyed by the fire is smoke damaged too badly to save.
Holland has been staying with her brother since the fire, but his house is small and Holland’s niece and her husband and children are also living there.
“I have to go somewhere else, find something else. There’s too many of us and the house is too small,” she said, “I don’t know where I’m going to go.”
Holland lives on a fixed income and the home she lost had belonged to her mother. Holland wasn’t at home at the time of the fire and said officials have not yet determined what caused the fire, though they suspect the origins may have been electrical. Holland said the house was old and had “old wiring.”
Her daughter lives in Oklahoma, and though she is considering going to stay with her, Holland said she would rather find something in Brownwood.
“Brownwood’s my home. I’ve lived here all my life, I don’t want to leave. I want to stay,” she said.
On Monday, Holland was trying to get her bearings and a plan together of where to go and what to do. Immediately after the fire she had been given a gift card by the local Red Cross to shop at Wal-Mart for clothes, food and immediate necessities.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August, 2008,” Holland said, another tear making its path down her cheek. “I’ve been through chemo and radiation. I’m supposed to be on medication, but my medicine got burned up.
“I’ve got a cell phone, but it’s dead. My charger burned up. The only way I can get in touch with any of the services that might help me is to go there. I can’t call.”
Her neighbors, Billy Don and Virginia Wright can take messages or accept donations of household goods, etc. Their phone number is 643-1990. Financial donations can be made to Holland’s savings account at TexasBank.
“I guess though I need to know where I’m staying and figure out what I need before people can help,” Holland said, letting another tear escape from beneath her glasses.
Holland said Good Samaritan Ministries is out of funds to help her find housing and on Monday she was going to go to the Family Services Center to see if she could “get help there, just deciding what to do next.
“I’ve had tough Christmases before. Two years ago at Christmastime, my son, Larry Don, died. That was tougher than this. I’ll get through this somehow, but I’m having a real hard time of it.”