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‘Las Vegas takes care of its own’

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As you well know by now, the Litherland house was burned severely a few weeks ago. I believe that the best quote came from my son, John: When he called, he was frustrated to be so far away at such a time, however, he said that he was not worried because Las Vegas takes care of its own. And that is certainly true.

I will try to express our gratitude to all who aided and lent support to us for the last several days in this letter to the editor at the Optic.

First and foremost, one of the patrons across the street called 911. Then at least two of the group that gathered near the house broke the living room window, with a handy log, then Mario Romero said he threw Isaiah Chavez through the window. Isaiah suffered cuts from the glass, but unlocked the front door and permitted Mario and others to enter the house. They shouted fire, everybody out!

The two international students in our house yelled that Joyce was crippled and needed help to get out. They dashed to the rear of the house, picked Joyce up and carried her out. The group outside assisted Joyce and the girls into a warm vehicle, reported to belong to Josh Madrid. I was placed in a police car, and we watched the firefighting efforts.

Along with the local firefighters, the Gallinas and Sheridan volunteer fire departments performed an exceptional job in putting the fire out with the absolute minimum of fire damage, even while working for three hours under the frigid temperatures. As the chief said, “My guys, they did a really good job in saving the house.”

At this time I will attempt to express Joyce’s and my sincere and deepest gratitude to my bank personnel. Thanks to the Vegas word of mouth, Ernesto Salazar, his wife, Dyanne, and Mike Fields were at our house as soon or sooner than the fire trucks. Among the three of them, they rounded up or purchased for us sweats, socks and shoes. They also set up motel rooms for us, and made sure we got there. We had the easy part.

After the fire was out, the chief of police, the fire chief and Ernesto and Mike spent the rest of the night making sure that the fires were being contained. They insured that the house was boarded up the next morning. I do not know if they got any sleep, but they returned the next afternoon and helped my son Kenneth and his wife empty two freezers of meat, and loaded them in two pickup trucks for Ken to take out to his home. Joining in this effort were many more people, and I have relied on Ernesto’s message as to who they were. But I know that Alan Franken, Dyanne, Kenneth and Ruth Mares, and Yvette Williams participated in this effort.

I know that many more people stopped by the house to offer their services and support, and I am sorry if I am missing names. Also, Sunday afternoon, Keith our bank president, and others assisted in helping Kamila and Jacoba back into the house, where they recovered their belongings, and most important, their passports and visas. Someone or ones also recovered underwear items for Joyce and me.

Joyce and I, with thanks, wish to acknowledge the dozens of messages on e-mail and on my cell phone which we received, offering us places to stay, cars to use, offering to aid us in any way they could. Also many, many more have expressed themselves in the way I like, with hugs and well wishes.

I can only say we are so thankful for all the efforts, all the support and all of the offerings from all of you. Thanks from the bottom of our hearts!

Ray Litherland
Las Vegas