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For the Daily News
Two recent residential fires locally left two men with no possessions and claimed the life of one woman, and an effort is being launched to help the fire victims and their families.
Oktibbeha-Starkville Emergency Response Volunteer Services (OSERVS) is raising money to assist fire victims Roger L. Bell Jr. and Deon Manning.
Bellâ€™s home at 1435 Blackjack Road was destroyed by fire Feb. 16.
The home that Manning shared with his mother, Ruth Ann Bishop, at 2331 Williams Road was destroyed in a Feb. 19 fire. Mrs. Bishop died in the blaze.
OSERVS has already provided some initial assistance to both Bell and Manning, but leaders of the organization recognized a deeper need to help both, said Carol Moss Read, chair of the OSERVS board of directors.
â€śBoth of these men lost everything they own, and Mr. Manning lost his mother,â€ť Read said. â€śWe want to do what we can to help them and their families in this difficult time.â€ť
Through consultation with both men and Manningâ€™s extended family, OSERVS will be raising money for the following:
â€˘ To assist both men in buying clothing and other household items lost in the fires.
â€˘ To assist in covering funeral expenses for Ruth Ann Bishop. Arrangements for her funeral are being handled through West Memorial Funeral Home of Starkville.
Monetary donations for the fire victims are being accepted at the OSERVS offices at 100 Highway 12 East at South Jackson Street during the agencyâ€™s regular operating hours, which are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.
The office will be open until 4 p.m. this Friday to accept monetary donations.
Monetary donations â€“ checks or money orders â€“ for the fire victims may also be mailed to OSERVS at P.O. Box 443, Starkville, MS 39760.
In addition to monetary donations, OSERVS will also accept information from individuals who wish to donate furniture or household items to replace those lost by Bell and Manning in the fires that destroyed their homes.
Donors should not bring the items to the OSERVS offices, but can call the offices at (662) 384-2200 to leave information about what items are available and where they can be picked up.
A staff member or volunteer will make arrangements with the fire victims for the items to be collected.
Since OSERVS is a non-profit organization with 501(c)3 status, all donations are tax-deductible.
For additional information, contact the OSERVS offices at the telephone number listed above.