Lander residents responded to family’s tragic fire in overwhelming fashion

(Lander, Wyo.) – The support expressed to the Van Dijk family following the tragic fire and loss of two of their five children on Tuesday has been nothing short of overwhelming, friends of the family reported Thursday. “This community is really amazing,” said Mika Baker today. “We pretty much have a house full of stuff that has been donated.” Included is all new furniture including a couch, two recliners, two coffee tables, a kitchen table and chairs, plus a king size bed, all anonymously, she said. Cribs for the family’s two infants were also donated.

Monetary donations were also being accepted in a special account set up for the family at Central Bank and Trust.

Baker said she and others were “feeling helpless on Wednesday morning. This gave us a purpose.” Baker and colleague April Hughes organized a donation campaign that met most of the family’s household needs within a single day.

In addition to the massive outpouring of community support, on the night of the fire employees at SageWest Health Center in Lander showed up en-mass to help treat the survivors and prepare those who were flown to a regional burn center. “We probably had more people than we needed, but it speaks well of our people that they would rush in to help in such a tragic circumstance,” CEO Steve Erixon said Wednesday.

“We’re going to start sorting and organizing all the donations and put them in bins,” Baker said. “And we haven’t even gotten the donations yet that came in from Riverton.”

UPDATE at 4:30 p.m. Thursday:

The community response has been so overwhelming that CB&T is no longer accepting donations of goods for the family. They are, however, still accepting monetary donations. See the latest update on the donation effort here. 

The second of two rooms full of donated items for the Van Dijk family. (Ernie Over photo)

The second of two rooms full of donated items for the Van Dijk family. (Ernie Over photo)