‘House in a Box’ aids recovery

  • Written by John Wolcott
  • Published in Local
Cheryl and Ron Burrow, who lost everything in the Oso landslide, received new furniture and household goods through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s “House in a Box” program. Joining them at the pickup site in Monroe are Jim Kehoe, left, CEO of St. Vincent de Paul’s North Sound Council, and Knights of Columbus member Paul Roth from St. Mary of the Valley Parish in Monroe. Photo: Courtesy St. Vincent de Paul Society Cheryl and Ron Burrow, who lost everything in the Oso landslide, received new furniture and household goods through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s “House in a Box” program. Joining them at the pickup site in Monroe are Jim Kehoe, left, CEO of St. Vincent de Paul’s North Sound Council, and Knights of Columbus member Paul Roth from St. Mary of the Valley Parish in Monroe. Photo: Courtesy St. Vincent de Paul Society

MARYSVILLE - With the help of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Ron and Cheryl Burrow are starting over again.

Months after the March 22 Oso landslide swept away their hilltop home, the Burrows bought a house east of Marysville that sits on stable land. But the couple had nothing to put into their new home until the Oso Long Range Recovery Group connected them with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s “House in a Box” furnishings program.

“We try to provide everything for people who have lost homes in disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, Colorado’s recent slides, Oklahoma’s tornadoes or the Oso mudslide,” said Jim Kehoe, CEO of St. Vincent de Paul’s North Sound Council. “This is support work St. Vincent de Paul has always done, although events like Oso are unusual,” said Kehoe, who is a member of the recovery group.

Families receive a variety of boxes containing beds, a couch, living room furniture, dishes, and pots and pans. In addition, the Tempur-Pedic company provided three truckloads of mattresses to help those affected by the slide. Knights of Columbus members from several Snohomish County councils are helping deliver the items and assemble furniture, Kehoe said.

The Burrows were the first of those affected by the mudslide to receive a “House in a Box.” “We’ve given out about eight now and expect to provide them to 30 or more families who lost homes in the Oso slide,” Kehoe said.

The couple wasn’t home when the slide hit, and “I couldn’t fathom the idea that everything was gone,” Cheryl Burrow said. “Days after the mudslide, I looked from a hilltop at where our home had been. It was buried 70 feet deep, along with our truck, motorhome and animals. Only two of our dogs survived.”

At first, Cheryl was hesitant to accept help, saying there were so many other people in need. Although the Burrows’ lives were spared, “my husband finally convinced me we’re victims of the Oso disaster, too, and needed help,” she said.

Kehoe said the Burrows “were delighted with the contents of the ‘House in a Box’ and very gracious about receiving it.”