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December 20, 2022

Paula Campbell
Posted 12/20/22

As we all are getting our homes ready for Christmas not everyone is so lucky.  

Last week there was a terrible house fire on Route 55 in Eldred and long-time resident Charlie Blanchard and …

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December 20, 2022


As we all are getting our homes ready for Christmas not everyone is so lucky. 

Last week there was a terrible house fire on Route 55 in Eldred and long-time resident Charlie Blanchard and his daughter Raven lost literally everything they owned. 

The Fire Department did everything they could and thankfully both Charlie and Raven escaped the fire unharmed, but they will need to find some other place to live-and after the pandemic real estate boom that swept up every house in the County, this presents a tough challenge.

 Charlie was a volunteer for the Yulan Fire Department for many years but has been having serious health issues as of late. Right before the fire he had been hospitalized and had surgery and was in the process of recovering in the home he lost to the fire. Recently things have been very tough for the Blanchard family. 

After the fire, a neighborhood family has been providing them a place to stay while they figure out the difficult next steps, they need to take to find a permanent place to live. 

I had the opportunity to speak with Charlie at the St. Anthony’s Christmas event last Saturday and he seemed in remarkably good spirits and he told me he and Raven are so thankful for all of the community support they have gotten. 

They may have a solid lead on a two-bedroom apartment available in Highland Lake which was great news to hear. The Town of Highland has a long-storied tradition of stepping up and helping our neighbors in need. 

Rebecca Morabito has organized a GoFundMe page to help Charlie and Raven. Visit the Living in Barryville group on Facebook and there is a link there to donate. Please donate if you can to support the Blanchard family.

In between running around with my friend Mike doing some last-minute holiday shopping, I did manage to attend the new St. Anthony’s Christmas event sponsored by the Church’s Knights of Columbus Cardinal O’Connor Millennium Council #12663 (did you know that the Knights of Columbus founded in 1882 in Connecticut is one of America’s oldest charitable organizations?) 

The Christmas Pageant was wonderful and closed out with caroling, which reminded us all about the true liturgical meaning of the season and kudos to all the volunteers led by Tess Cuiffreda who outdid themselves planning the Pageant. 

The Community Center was packed with happy families and the Knights setting up the dinner. Everyone enjoyed the buffet and desserts and Santa set up on Candy Cane Lane had visits with the families and their children. 

There were crafts and gifts available and it was festive and fun for everyone and I sure hope they can make this an annual event.

The last Barryville Farmers Holiday Market was held in the Town Hall on the 17th. There were food and gift vendors and I managed to pick up a few really lovely things from a new vendor Roswell Hamrick who opened a Pop-Up Holiday Store in Barryville.

 I am always sad to see the Farmers Market close for the season and we will look forward to seeing them again in May.

I want to note the sad passing of Vinny Donnelly of Yulan. When I first moved here twenty-nine years ago, Vinny did my lawncare and there wasn’t a kinder or more genuine person than Vinny along with his lovely wife Barbara.  

It was always a pleasure to run into Vinny and he will be missed by many of us. My sincere condolences to the Donnelly family.


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