Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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March 22, 2014

Community rallies around family who lost home in fire

ECHO VALLEY —  An Austin Bank account has been set up for the family of Marc Gowin, who lost everything they owned in a recent mobile home fire.

Gowin's co-workers from ETMC Jacksonville's plant services department established the fund, the “Marc Gowin Benefit Account,” said David Warren, who works with Gowin.

“He, his wife and their daughter lost everything but the clothes they were wearing when they escaped the burning house,” Warren wrote. “Marc is a very good guy and hard worker, always willing to help others out. Now, he is in need of help, so we maintenance employees have set up a benefit account to seek donations from the community to help him and his family get back on their feet.”

According to Gowin's mother, Sandy Gowin, the fire ignited late Sunday evening in her son's residence.

“The family got out safely,” she said, adding that her granddaughter, Shelby – a freshman at Jacksonville High School – was the one who alerted the family when the fire began, about 10:30 or 11 p.m. Sunday.

“Shelby was our hero – Marc and his wife, Belinda, were sleeping when Shelby smelled smoke and called 9-1-1 before waking them up to get out of the house,” Gowin said. “They lost everything except what they could grab, and that wasn't very much, just the clothes they had on. But they got out safely.”

The body of one of the family's cats was found inside the residence the following day, Gowin added.

“They did lose one of their two cats – it was so smoky that they just couldn't find her” as they were escaping flames, she said.

An Austin Bank employee said that along with the fund established on behalf of the family, a clothing drive also is being held for the Gowin family.

Items needed include: Men's size small shirts, pants size 29 x 32 or 30 x 32 and men's shoes, size 8.5; ladies' shirt sizes large or extra-large, women's pants, size 12-14 long and women's shoes, size 10.5; and junior size girls tops, size small or medium, junior pants size 5 or 7, and women's shoes, size 11.

Her hospital co-workers also have been collecting items for the family, Gowin said.

“Everybody has been so generous,” she said. “They started a kitchen drive here, collecting kitchen gadgets for the family, and next, they'll be doing a linen drive – collecting blankets and quilts and linens. There have been a lot of clothes donated, and a lady who is having an estate sale is opening it up to my son's family to let them have what they need.”

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