Community helps grieving Kuna family stricken by tragedy

Community helps grieving Kuna family stricken by tragedy

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by Karen Zatkulak

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KTVB.COM

Posted on December 27, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 2:51 PM

KUNA -- After a tragic Thanksgiving, comes a tragic Christmas for a Kuna family.

They are now dealing with another loss, about a month after their 11-year-old boy lost his fight with cancer.

Now, the community is stepping up to help them recover from a fire that damaged their home.

The Bennett family had been living in the home on Syrup Court in Kuna for years.

On Christmas Eve, fire ripped through that home, destroying one bedroom and causing smoke damage throughout the rest of the house.

JAYDEN'S FIGHT

This past spring Jayden Bennett got the ride of his life.

He'd been battling bone cancer for several years and had even lost his left leg. The cancer spread from his leg to his lungs and spine.

In April, his dream came true as he was named a Young Marine, and flew in a helicopter.

But Thanksgiving brought the day his family had been dreading. Jayden died at just 11 years old.

Neighbor Ann Denham watched the family struggle through Jayden's illness, and watched them mourn his life on Thanksgiving Day.

She said, "He was a sweet young man, way beyond his years in age and he was just great, talented, loving."

There was a memorial for Jayden on December 22 at Kuna High School. Denham says family members came from out of town, and many in the community were there to celebrate his young life.

THE FIRE

The Bennett family was eating dinner together at a relative's home on Christmas Eve.

Boni Bennett, along with her daughter and son, weren't home when fire ripped through their home.

Denham was home that night and called 911 when she saw flames from her neighbor's home. "It's just unbelievable. It just keeps coming. I don't know what else can happen now."

The fire destroyed Jayden's old room that he shared with his brother.

Smoke damaged nearly everything else inside, leaving the family with little, and forced to find a new home.

The Kuna Fire Department tells us they probably won't be able to live in their home again for several months.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Now, the family dealing with so much, is finding hope.

Hope in the community's response as they donate bags of clothing, beds, and even furniture.

Kuna firefighter Paul Schepper said, "To see a community come around and really want to help out, it makes you feel good about what you do, and have the community ready to help any way they can."

But the fire department says the family still needs much more.

So those who knew Jayden, and those who care for his family, are asking for help.

"The community has done a lot for this family, so if they could just do one more thing," said Denham.

The fire department tells us the Bennett family needs cash donations and gift cards.

You can drop off any donation of household items at the Kuna Fire Department, located at 150 Boise Street.

You can also send or drop off a check for the family.

The mailing address for the Kuna Fire Department is P.O. BOX 607, Kuna, Idaho, 83634.

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