Brought to tears: Kansas community helps man rebuild after house fire during son’s funeral

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RENO COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — A Kansas community has come together to support and help build a new home for one of their own.

“This is the work of Christ in action,” said Buhler Mennonite Church Lead Pastor Willmar Harder.

That action is on full display in a rural area of Reno County. That’s where Tom Reeves has lived for nearly 20 years. However, his longtime home was destroyed in a fire in December 2020.

“I was at my son’s funeral, got the call, the house was on fire,” said Reeves. “I rushed here, and there wasn’t nothing left.”

Reeves, who works in construction, has been living in a donated mobile home on his property ever since. However, that is about to change thanks to the kindness of others.

“The friends and family said, ‘look, let’s help him out.’ The house was not insured at the time,” Harder explained.

In a matter of weeks, people from Burrton, Buhler, Inman, and Hutchinson raised about $45,000 for Reeves. Volunteers soon put the money to work, helping Reeves build a new home.

“For me as a pastor, this is what church is, what the faith is, what it means to be a community,” Harder said. “He is not a man of many words, but you can see it in his eyes, you can see it in his demeanor, and you can feel it in his handshakes. It means a lot to him. I think he is overwhelmed as it is to all of us, but especially to him. He is loved.”

“Just the appreciation is beyond. I mean, what everybody has done, it’s just really amazing,” Reeves sobbed. “Always be nice to your neighbors and friends. That’s for sure.”

Reeves expects his home to be move-in-ready by early 2022.

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