By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Pinon Hills)–The Shinedling Family has been on what their father describes as a roller coaster ride. It started on the morning of January 5th when a fire destroyed their home and claimed the life of their mother Amy, 35. Since that time the community has really come together to help the family out.
“When the fire happened, all I could think about for my family is ‘who is going to help us?’ I’m thinking my family, friends, church members. That’s it. Then I get to my friend’s house and she had contacted my daughter’s schools. They offered $100 for each girl, even my little one. So all of the girls got $100 each to go to Target,” explained Aaron Shinedling.
The word spread quickly. The girls’ schools, Pinon Hills Elementary and Pinon Mesa started collecting items for the family. That spread to all of Snowline School District. Mr. Shinedling then found out that his former school district VVUHSD had started collecting donations and raising money for the family. Parents and children from teams that Aaron coached in the past at Hook Junior High that are now at Victor High are rallying for the family. All the way out to AYSO in Quartz Hill where they are donating the proceeds from their concession trailer to the Shinedlings.
The family was invited up to Mtn. High to spend the day and be fitted with all new gear.
“I took the girls up there and it was probably one of the greatest moments so far. Because when we were in that store I was letting them dress me and pick out my outfit and everything. And yes, it is pink and purple, but I don’t care. The kids were happy. It was the best thing that had happened.”
The Shinedlings are seeing so much support and caring from the entire community, Aaron said. “What’s happening is that people that I know are reaching out to me. People that don’t even have any connection to me are reaching out to me. What I didn’t realize is how many people my family has touched.”
For a while Mr. Shinedling was considering moving down the hill to be closer to where his parents live. He also considered re-building his family’s home. “I was leaning more toward where my parents live, but when I saw everybody doing all of this for me, right then and there I knew I had to stay up here. Because my family is up here now. I still have my family down the hill, but I have this bigger family up here now,” he reflected.
There is now a push to have Extreme Home Makeover come up and help the family re-build their home. There is a page where anyone can leave comments for the producers of the show: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=10150136203045543&topic=18220
“Even if they don’t do it, I’m still going to have the community build my house. Because I’ve had people come to us and say, ‘Hey I can do drywall and I can do plumbing and I can do electrical.’ Basically, I just need someone to lead them. They’re ready to build me house,” Shinedling said.
“I’ve learned that you just accept what’s given to you. Because those people are helping me. No matter what, they are helping me. Whether I need it or not, I know they’re going to be helping me. I’ll figure out what to do with it next and whether it is a duplicate or not. Because then I can turn around and help someone else.”
Aaron is trying to keep things as normal as possible for his three daughters. “My girls, I’ve been trying to keep them involved in everything. I don’t know if they really really understand the whole thing that is going on. I’ve been trying to explain it to them. That’s why if someone asks me how they are doing I honestly can’t answer that question. Because one day we’re doing Ok and then the next day we have a bad day. We break down. It’s like being on a roller coaster.”
The family is still living in a hotel at this point, but will soon be moving into a rental home. They are still in need of just about everything. “Basically we left the house with what we were wearing that day. We were bare-footed and in PJs. We came out with very little pictures. We basically lost everything. We’ve still got each other. It would be nice if we could have one more with us,” he said, referring to his wife Amy.
The Shinedling family is SO very grateful to everyone who has helped them. “I see the positive of this whole thing. Things have happened and I’m struggling. The way I look at it, there are a lot of loving people up here that care. This whole thing is simply amazing because it is not just happening up here, it is spreading. I guess it is kind of like paying it forward because my family and I have always volunteered our time and given to others.”
Aaron says, “There isn’t any way to describe what’s going on. If you say thank you, that’s not good enough, it’s not a strong enough word. And we’re grateful..we just appreciate what is going on here, and thankful that we have the community that cares, that loves us, that wants to help. No matter what I do, I’m going to make sure that they help us. No one will be denied, if possible. Obviously there is going to be some stuff people can’t help me with. But anything and everything will help.”