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Community rallies around Yuma fire victims

CLIFFORD JEFFERY • Feb 28, 2007 at 12:03 PM

YUMA - Born with a spinal condition that has required multiple surgeries and caused his spine to become nearly fused from top to bottom, 11-year-old Daniel Bolling doesn't act much different than most other fifth-graders at Yuma Elementary School.

But almost a week after his home burned down, Daniel is becoming a popular guy in the community.

The Thursday morning fire destroyed all of his and his mother's belongings.

He was most disappointed to have lost his books. They were books about dragons, dinosaurs and King Kong, Daniel said.

He also lost models he had made and sentimental items from his family.

Clothes, toys, models, even some special things that had belonged to his father. Those were given to Daniel after his father died two years ago - all of it burned up, said Daniel's mother, Debra Bolling.

After the fire, Debra and Daniel moved into her mother's home in Hiltons. But Debra Bolling said she, along with her fiance who was injured in the fire, will be looking for a house.

Although they are still looking, many of their other needs are being met with gifts from people in the community.

At first Yuma Elementary School took up a collection among teachers to buy Daniel clothes that he could wear to school.

But when the Bollings' story, published in Monday's edition of the Times-News, listed the school office as a contact for donations, Principal Sammy Parks said his staff was overrun with calls.

"When you get 30 to 40 phone calls a day, that is a hardship. We're glad there has been such a response from the community. We're also glad we were able to help set up an account for Daniel," Parks said.

So far, people from all over the region have offered gifts and money to the family. People have offered money, clothing, toys and even furniture, according to school personnel.

It was more than the school office staff could handle.

An account was set up at BB&T Bank in Gate City.

It is called the "Bolling Family Fire Fund," Parks said.

So far, the family has received several hundred dollars in contributions.

Donations can be made to BB&T Bank, 101 US 23 Suite G, Gate City, Va. 24251.

For more information call the bank at (276)386-6512.

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