Family struck by tragedy in need of kindness

Daughter's death inspired Act of Kindness day

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. - A Noblesville family is in need of kindness from others after a fire gutted their home and left them homeless.

Wen Gutreuter, 41, was trying to put the pieces of her life back together after the fire raged through her home and caused $140,000 worth of damage on Tuesday.

The family lost everything. Gutreuter was devastated that she will not be able to pass down her wedding dress to her daughter. She felt the loss of the simple things like her son’s bicycles and the bunk beds her husband built for the kids.

The family is used to heartbreak. Gutreuter’s 2-year-old daughter Emily died in her sleep in 2005.

Last year Gutreuter created Random Act of Kindness Day in Emily’s honor. She has helped hundreds of other people and there are over 1,000 people that have volunteered on Facebook to participate this year.

Jennifer Doudt participated by buying grocers at Walmart for a family she did not know.

“We walked up before they could pay and asked if it would be ok for us to buy the groceries, they looked at us and said ‘Why would you do that for us?’ We said in honor of Emily and Random Act of Kindness Day," Doudt said.

Those moments make Wen feel good, even in the middle of another family crisis.

"We know how to do hard. We have the faith in God on our side and an incredible support system from church and friends. But I would like not to do hard for a while. I would like easy," Gutreuter said.

After being a champion of Random Acts of Kindness, this situation calls for a specific act of kindness -- help for her family.

“I know there has been one donation of a couple hundred dollars. That'll help, but they lost everything. They lost both cars and a house. A lot to recuperate when you start life all over," Randy Howard of Hoosiers with Heart said.

Thursday update:

As if the family was not facing enough hardship, Gutreuter was notified that her 43-year-old sister died Thursday morning in Arizona.

The cause of her death was not known.

How to help:

To help call Hoosiers with Heart at (765) 686-1963 or send donations to:

Church for the Nations
12254 Hancock Street
Carmel, IN 46032

Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas

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