ROCKWELL — A Rockwell man who lost his home to fire Tuesday says he’s grateful for the outpouring of support from his community.
Mark Waite received so many calls following the fire at the Sacred Heart Parish Center that his phone’s battery was quickly depleted.
“The helpfulness is overwhelming and everyone is there for me,” said Waite, who is the parish groundskeeper. “It has helped keep my spirits up.”
As the groundskeeper, Waite lived in the former nuns’ convent, which was attached to the parish center. It had been his residence since 1996.
Waite was not home when the fire broke out. He was working at a Rockwell nursing home, where he takes care of maintenance needs.
He walked the property Wednesday but says nothing is salvageable from his apartment, where windows are broken, paint melted from the walls and appliances transformed into metal shells.
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Waite previously had a renter’s policy when he had a dog, but did not have insurance at the time of the fire. The church’s insurance does not cover his belongings or help him get started over.
He’s been able to buy new clothing and toiletries, and is staying with his dad in Mason City for the time being.
“Every day, I think of something else I need, but I’ll slowly acquire the things myself,” he said. “People who call, I tell them, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll be all right.’”
He’s not sure if he’ll continue his groundskeeping work — mowing, shoveling and setting up for events — since he’s living in Mason City, but hopes to eventually move back to Rockwell, a town he’s called home for two decades.
“It’s a good little community,” Waite said of Rockwell. “I really appreciate everything people are doing and will do.”
The Rev. Rod Allers of Sacred Heart has set up a GoFundMe account to aid Waite. To contribute, visit www.gofundme.com/rg7xj664.