Tuesday, September 03, 2013
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The Oasis will rise from the ashes

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[September 03, 2013]  The following is an article written by Oasis board member Ellen Burbage in the weeks after the devastating fire that left the building at the corner of Pulaski and Kickapoo streets in Lincoln seriously damaged.

The article was originally written for the Oasis Newsletter. Burbage recently shared the article with LDN as a means of letting the community know where the group is on rebuilding their home.


A Fire Tale

Friday evening, June 21, 2013 a violent thunderstorm came through Lincoln, Illinois igniting a lightning strike on the roof of the Oasis Senior Center.

The fire that developed smoldered until the entire roof was engulfed. As the brave firemen from neighboring communities (15 departments) fought the fire, it became obvious that The Oasis was in serious trouble. When dawn broke the roof was gone, water and smoke damage engulfed the entire structure, windows were blown out and there was standing water in the basement.

Dominic Dalpoas, Executive Director, and Wally Reifsteck, President of the Board, ventured into the building to attempt to retrieve the computers and important documents. The computers were retrieved but were completely destroyed. Fortunately, the back-up box was salvaged and the rising from the ashes began.

The following days were filled with insurance adjusters, structural engineers, and restoration services.

The most pressing need was to find a temporary home out of which we could continue our programs. Community Action Partnership of Central Illinois offered an office to The Oasis on Monday, June 24. With the office space, we were able to purchase a laptop, install the back-up information and get back to business as usual.

The Executive Committee began a search for a temporary home. Many sites were offered and the generosity of many was very evident. The sites were toured and it was decided the St. John United Church of Christ offered us the most usable and handicapped accessible site.

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St. John United Church of Christ, 204 7th Street, Lincoln, graciously opened their hearts and doors to provide The Oasis with a temporary home.

The Oasis Senior Center resumed limited services and programs on, Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The first services to return were Benefit Access Programs, S.H.I.P. (Medicare Part D), Legal Aid, VA Administration, and Foot Care.

Setting up our offices at St. John's was made much easier and affordable by donations from Rick Hamm, Lincoln Land Communications and the State Farm Corporation's excess office furniture warehouse.

Obtaining office space and setting up for business became a fond memory as we forged ahead with the process of securing the burn site and proceeding with clean-up. The process has been arduous and certainly not as fast as we would have wished.

Once again days were filled with structural engineers, restoration men in big white suits, architects, insurance adjusters, impatient press, and most of all concerned and generous citizens of Logan County.

The Oasis Senior Center Board of Directors will be making many decisions within the next few months that will guarantee our mission to serve the senior population of Logan County for many generations to come. We will be asking all the citizens of Logan County to help in raising the Oasis Senior Center from the ashes.

[Written by Ellen Burbage for the Oasis Newsletter]

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