In the blink of an eye, your entire life can change, and did for a wonderful family, close to us, this weekend.

On Mothers’ day Sunday, near dawn, a fire began that shook our entire neighborhood to its’ very core.  By noon, there was virtually nothing left of an entire families’ life-long possessions.

Lives can change, just that quickly.

Gary and Shelly Traub, and their wonderful son and daughter, Joey and Jackie, each learned first hand to take nothing for granted, as news reached them that their home was no more.

The blessing: They were not home as the fire broke out, around 6 Am on this foggy morning, in Macomb, Michigan.  The curse: That authorities arrived too late to save their house and worldly possessions.  Because of poor or conflicting information called into the fire department, the only thing that could be done was to save houses on either side of theirs.  For that, so many people thank the efforts of those brave men and women.

I cannot even imagine the long ride back from vacation, only to find the smoldering remains of your existence – turned to ashes.

It was a very long day.  Maybe for them, the longest they will ever endure.  But they did not endure it alone.

Our neighborhood when caused, will rally behind you, no matter what.  I was so very proud of all the wonderful neighbors that stood together to lift the Traubs when they were hurting.

As word spread of the tragedy, the outpouring of support began in earnest, and hasn’t slowed yet.  People drove from miles around to hug, hold and offer condolences to the entire family.  Urging them to stay at each of their houses, for as long as needed.

If any ray of light can be found in the gloom this terrible event, it is the knowledge that there are people in our lives who when faced with such adversity, do not bend or falter.

The traubs, to a person each handled themselves with boundless, hope, grace and humility.  Never once, grumbled, complained or griped over the unlucky hand they had been dealt.

I do not worry about them, and never will.  They are strong and sane.  They will endure because of their faith in themselves, in others and in the strength of their family and friends.

To those wonderful friends who came forward to comfort Gary, Shelly and family in their time of need, I feel so very proud of you all.  Just to know that amazing people like these will give of themselves when needed goes beyond anything listed in an real-estate brochure or association listing.

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Watching a tragedy unfold is very hard to do. Documenting one, is my way of dealing with the hardships that life can offer.  It is also my small way to help.

Things can forever change in the blinking of an eye.  Maybe these images will help us remember not just the devastation and sorrow of one spring day, but also the courage, hope and humanity that can be found in the hearts of some amazing people.

Click here for complete photo series. 


The outpouring of caring that surrounds this incredible family has not ebbed in the days since the tragedy.  In fact, several of the neighbors have set up an GOFUNDME page to help defer the countless costs and hardships involved in re-building their lives.

The Traubs have made such a difference in the lives of so many people over the years, it is now our turn to step up and help them in their time of need.

Make a donation, big or small.  Tell them how much they mean to you.  Or, simply share a thought on their experience.

Here is the link:


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