BOUNTIFUL — Daniele and Christian Youngblood lost nearly everything last August, when the Gun Range Fire tore through their home and two others. Still today, they say they are grateful for the many things they do have, and the generosity of neighbors and friends.
“We’re overwhelmed by generosity,” Christian Youngblood said. “It actually takes you back. You get set back, and you don’t even know what to say or how to thank people, or what to do. People just come at you in every direction, and ask you what they can do to help.”
In working to rebuild their home and their lives, all while preparing for Christmas, Daniele Youngblood says something else took her back, as her 6-year-old daughter, Lily was talking to Santa Claus at a local shopping mall.
“I was trying to find out what Lily might want for Christmas,” Daniele said. She wouldn’t get much help there. At least not in building a shopping list.
The Facebook post Daniele shared with friends later that day explained it.
“My beautiful girl inside and out,” the post read. “Asking Santa to make all her neighbors, friends and family have a Happy Christmas. He said: ‘That’s wonderful! I will do that, but what would you like?’ She said ‘Me? Nothing.’”
“I was so moved by what she said, and just the things that Lily comes up with,” Daniele said. “And I’m proud to share that with other people, especially if it brings them joy for the holiday season.”
Daniele and Christian say they’ve been amazed at the generosity of those around them. They say neighbors have helped replace Lily’s collection of stuffed animals. And while Christian will put his skills as a carpenter to work in rebuilding their home, he says many area businesses have offered to help, along with neighbors. They say it will be a home built by the community.
“Everyone’s made us feel like we’re happy to live here,” Christian said. “We want to keep living here. We want to keep our neighbors. We want to keep our community.”
The Youngbloods say thanks to that giving spirit of those around them, they feel they already have everything they need.
“Even though we’ve got all this destruction and devastation, we feel so much gratitude, and love,” Daniele said. “And we just feel so grateful to be here, and be surrounded by amazing people.”
As far as the Christmas list goes, it hasn’t grown very much. Lily has said she would like a Hatchimal toy, but not much else. Her message today is very similar to what it was when she talked with Santa.
“I wanted the whole world, including me and my family, and everyone in the school to be happy,” Lily said.
Some friends have put together a GoFundMe page for the Youngbloods, which can be found here.
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