Student battles blaze's aftermath with bottles

Nine-year-old Michaela Barnes is all too familiar with fire. Both of her parents, Stephanie and Charlie Barnes, are volunteer firefighters. But one fire hit close to home with Barnes when her new neighbors' home went up in flames after what authorities are calling an electrical fire.

The neighbors, who did not want their name printed, lost nearly everything in their bedroom and other parts of the home that were damaged by the fire last month.

Without any hesitation, Barnes began thinking of ways she could help.

I just wanted to do some type of fundraising, the fourth-grader at Roessleville said. "I figured a bottle drive would be good because a lot of people have bottles."

Barnes' mother said she was so impressed by her daughter's desire to help a family she barely knew. Her mother was also surprised that of all the fires Barnes had heard of or learned about, this one inspired her to action.

"For some reason, this fire affected her more than others," she said.

Her mother said was proud that Barnes wanted to help.

"That night, she started talking to me about ways to raise money," she said. "As a mom, I'm just very proud that she can think of other people."

Barnes has helped fundraise before, selling products door-to-door for the fire department, although she said on Friday, Oct. 23, that she never knew that's what she was doing.

For this fundraiser, Barnes said she and her mother approached people in their neighborhood, as well as people in her grandparents' neighborhoods.

With the help of Roessleville Principal Marybeth Tedisco, her friend Kalin Harvey, 9, her friend's mother, Heather Harvey, and the Roessleville community, Barnes collected 4,400 cans in a little over a month, bringing in $220 for the family.

Barnes said it took several car loads to deposit the bottles and cans at the Wal-mart deposit center.

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