Community brings Christmas to family who lost everything

(Provided Photo/Decatur Township Fire Department)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) —  The Decatur Township community came together in the past couple weeks to save Christmas, for a family who lost everything.

Lieutenant Scott McCaughna with the Decatur Township Fire Department, said it had been a busy night for the department, going from run to run.

Then, they fought the fire at Karen Novak’s home.

She lived there with her three children, and while they weren’t hurt, their dogs and cats died of smoke inhalation.

Those who’d fought the fire there, say they wondered right away what they could do.

“We were just talking about it that night; we’d seen the Christmas tree in the house, and we started talking about, if there would be anything we could do to be able to help out,” said Lt. Tom Meadimber.

“It just kind of took a life of its own from there,” McCaughna explained.

The entire Decatur Township Fire Department got involved, giving what they could, many of the firefighters from their own pockets.

They filled a truck full of kitchen items, clothing, and gifts for the kids.

“I got a call from the fire department and they said they wanted to help me with Christmas,” said Karen Novak. “When they came with that truck load of Christmas toys… it just melted my heart.”

“We see a lot of bad throughout the year,” said McCaughna. “It’s nice to have an opportunity to do something.”

“We see people a lot of times at their worst, and there’s no a lot we can do that day,” said Meadimber. “To be able to come back, and try to make things a little better. It really feels good to be able to do that.”

“I feel so blessed that the fire department would think of me enough to want to help me and want to reach out and help my kids. That’s just a blessing,” said Novak.

And it’s not just the fire department.

Novak says her church and the kids’ schools stepped up in a big way to help them out as well.

They’ve found a new home, and with the help of others, have furniture, a Christmas tree, and presents underneath it.

Firefighters say even as they were checking out while purchasing some of the items for the family, the cashier, a young man, even reached into his pocket and donated money.

Novak says she’s leaning on her faith, adding, she’s so grateful for the support.

“There’s hope in bad situations. God can make something that’s very terrible and very ugly into something that is a beautiful love song,” she said. “It is truly a blessing.”

“With God, all things are possible,” she added. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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