Wrestling community comes together after fire

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BENNINGTON — A fire at a North Pownal home on Sunday left the Taylor family and Mount Anthony junior wrestler Keenan Taylor without a place to live.

Quickly, the MAU wrestling community has mobilized to help the family of seven with some personal belongings and a possible place to stay in the interim.

Jen Gardner, head of fundraising for the wrestling team, said she talked to wrestling coach Brian Coon about things they could do for the family.

"They didn't have any insurance, and they lost everything except for some clothes the kids had at their grandparents house," said Gardner on Tuesday. "We're trying to collect money, hopefully enough to help [Wendell, the father] be able to buy a place to live."

Keenan is the oldest of the kids at 17, and Gardner said he helps his father as a caretaker for the younger kids.

"We want to try to offer some help, we're a family and we take care of each other," Gardner said.

Gardner said that the kids are staying with their grandparents, who also live in Pownal, for the time being, while they try to figure out what to do.

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Police said that the home, on French Hill Road in North Pownal, caught fire when the furnace failed.

Gardner has helped set up some events to raise money, including a pancake breakfast at Mount Anthony Union High School on January 27. The breakfast will run from 7:30 a.m. to noon and tickets will be $12 for adults and $5 for kids.

JC's Tavern in Bennington will also be opening today at noon as a drop-off for clothes and personal care items.

"We can reach out to the community to do something, get money for things that can be replaced," Gardner said.

As of 3 p.m. on Tuesday, a GoFundMe has raised more than $1,300 in just more than a day, but it's a separate thing from what Gardner is doing. That campaign has more than 400 shares.

The website for that is: https://www.gofundme.com/support-wendell-taylor-amp-family-of-7

If people want to donate items or give money, contact Gardner at 802-688-8913. All of the money raised will go directly to the Taylor family.


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