Fire is Conduit of Blessing for YC Students

By Chrystal Houston


Three businesses in downtown York, Nebraska were destroyed by fire on October 20. While the flames were spreading, calls were going out all over campus—no one had been hurt, but two current York College students and one former student had been living in an apartment above the businesses; they had lost nearly all of their possessions in the blaze. Rusty Ridley, a senior from Laramie, WY, and Joey Schwarz, a junior from Lincoln, Neb. and former student Matt Phelps were left homeless and without the basic necessities of life.


The tragedy of this event, however, was overshadowed by the magnitude of the outpouring of love shown to these students by the campus, church, and community.


“The immediate generosity has taken care of so many of our basic needs,” said Ridley after the fire. The students were given an apartment in the new residence halls on campus, and were furnished with basic supplies, like bedding and toiletries, as well as Wal-Mart gift cards for what ever else they might need in the short term.


“I’ve found out what you truly need to get by,” says Ridley. He and Schwarz concur that they now have what they “need”, and that so much of what was lost was just “wants”. They both are sorry about the loss of personal items of sentimental significance that they know they will never be able to replace.


Many church members contributed short-term housing and meals, as well as physical items and money for Ridley, Schwarz, and Phelps. The students also collected spare change for two weeks, and presented the fire victims with $664 in chapel on Friday, Nov. 3. A special benefit performance of the drama ensemble Soul Concern also netted $1,019.76 in donations on Friday night.


“The emotional part is the rallying of support of the campus, the community, and the churches from all around the area,” said Ridley. All three wished to express their gratitude to the hundreds of people that have shown them Christ through their generosity.


Top Photo: YC students Rusty Ridley (L) and Joey Schwarz (R) stood helplessly by while their apartment and all of their belongings were consumed by flames on October 20. The fire was a conduit of blessing for these students, as the campus and community sprung into action.