By Jed Lanyon
On 21 July, Kevin and Elizabeth Love lost everything they owned when their Millgrove home of 35 years went up in a wild blaze.
Thirty-five days later, Elizabeth lost her husband as Kevin passed away from a kidney haemorrhage after suffering from a range of health problems on 24 August.
After the fire, the Millgrove and surrounding Yarra Valley community rallied around the Love’s to raise $17,450 to help get them back on their feet.
And now Ms Love wants to thank those who supported her throughout such a difficult time.
Ms Love has been staying with her close friend Dawn in Millgrove as she prepares to move into her new Yarra Junction unit.
“Dawn’s been it and a bit… She’s just an extra member of the family now,” Ms Love said.
She said the money raised from the GoFundMe page went a long way in helping her furnish her new home.
“The support that we have received has just been fantastic. From people that we don’t even know to the organisations that we have been involved with in the SES, the CFA and our local church.
“It’s a fantastic feeling, you don’t go out to be involved to get anything back… You couldn’t ask for a better community to live in.
“One of the sad things is that I won’t be living in Millgrove anymore… It’s a special little place, Millgrove.”
Ms Love said she has been turning her attention to writing letters and thanking all of those who helped her out during this tough stretch.
From family, friends, workers at the Warburton bakery who raised money through tin collections, to Wesburn Primary School, whose students created a picture book for their mentor Kevin, they are just a few that make up the long list of those who lent their hand.
“Kevin got to see what the community thought of him before he passed. It’s usually what the family would hear at the funeral service.”
Ms Love shared the news that her husband’s cornea donation upon his death had helped give sight to someone in need.
She said it was the right call to make considering Kevin’s life had been extended 19 years as a result of a heart transplant.
Ms Love recalled the fire that claimed her home. Local CFA crews attended the scene and were faced with Kevin’s oxygen cylinders that had exploded, accelerating the fire on a gusty July night.
“I must have been in a light sleep because I thought I heard my name. I honestly believe now that it was god, but at the time I thought Kevin was calling me,” Ms Love said.
“He was sound asleep but I could see a glare. I got up, looked in the lounge room and fire was just raging through.
“I yelled out to Kevin, he got out and I tried to grab his medication but the house was totalled in 10 or 15 minutes… Everything just happened so fast.”
Ms Love is still yet to be informed as to the cause of the blaze that destroyed her home and spread to two neighbouring houses.