The Garwin Revitalization Committee is planning a benefit for Donn and Tia Hollawitz on Sunday, October 7. The event will be held at the Garwin Community Center in the Garwin City Park. Serving will be from 8 to 11 AM. The public is encouraged to attend and a free will offering will be taken with proceeds to go to the family.
The Committee is planning on serving Belgian Waffles, pancakes, scrambled egg, sausage and gravy with biscuits, toast, sausage patties, milk, juice and coffee.
The Hollawitz home was struck by lightening in the early hours of September 7. The damage to the modified earth home is extensive. The roof and upper part of the rooms is burned and charred. Water damage to the remainder of the home has caused the Fire Marshall to deem the structure not suitable for restoration.
This is the view of the southeast corner of the Donn and Tia Hollawitz home following a September 7 fire.
Most of the family possessions were lost. Donn said, "The interior furniture is history. Lots of family photos are toast. We tried to dry out some photos." There were a lot of family antiques, including a roll top desk and maple chest of drawers, that are damaged beyond repair.
Tia said she heard it thunder and thought it was really close. Then her cat, Rudy jumped off the bed and then Joe, the younger cat, jumped off the bed. Tia said, "I woke up and noticed a stinky smell in the bedroom. I went to the living room, turned on the light, went to the kitchen and really smelled smoke. I tried to use the phone and the land line would not work."
Tia continued, "The garage door was open and I went outside and could not breathe. I got into Donn's truck and used my cell phone to call for help."
In the confusion of the moment, Tia drove the truck down a steep embankment and was stuck. She says, "About that time a car comes flying down the drive tooting their horn and it was Sherry Parks. She got me in her car and stayed up all night with me. When she had to go to work, she had her Mom come be with me."
Donn drives cross country for a trucking firm and was not home at the time of the fire. Sadly the two cats who most likely saved Tia's life, were killed in the fire. The body of Rudy was found, but nothing to date of Joe. Emma, a cat in the garage, was saved.
The Hollawitz were hit in the July 11 storm last year and had $40,000 of damage at that time. Friends asked if they would relocate and Tia is quick to say, "I was raised in Omaha/Council Bluffs and am as city as they come. But let me tell you I wouldn't trade this town (Garwin) for anything in the world! We are rebuilding here." The Hollawitz' moved into the home in September of 2008.
Merle Parks, of the Revitalization Committee stated, "Donn and Tia always came to our monthly breakfasts and she volunteers at the library. They show an interest in the community and this is just one small way we can help them."
Tia said, "There is a whole bunch of God things that happened. I usually take sleep meds and did not that night. I normally lock the garage door and did not...... We are so grateful for this benefit. Garwin is a great community." Donn said, "We were caught off guard by the offer of a benefit. It's not like we are destitute. We are OK, but the generosity of the offer is amazing and we decided to accept."