Benefit raises money for Reach Incorporated after fire

By: Olga Michail Email
By: Olga Michail Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- It's been almost three month since Reach Incorporated, a business that helps people with disabilities through programing and job training, lost its home on 3rd street in Eau Claire to a fire.

Brandy Harrington is facing two charges of arson relating to the fire.
Now, the non-profit is starting a new chapter with help from the community.

Holly Ganong, program director with Reach Incorporated remembers getting the phone call about an active fire at the building on third.

“We had a lot of client and staff members who came (to the scene) and we cried on each other, and hugged each other and, held each other up and we kept going,” said Ganong.

“When I heard about this (the fire) it’s like a light bulb going, you know, I think this is something that the Elks can do as a community service to help another non-profit organization,” said Bonnie Rassbach.

Elk Lodge # 402 in Eau Claire put together the benefit to help reach get back on their feet.

“I was devastated, you know, I didn't know what to think; it was really hard to believe, and when you think how it happened, that sparked more interest in people helping out in this benefit,” explained Rossbach.

Local businesses donated door prices; community members came together for the bake sale and a silent auction and a lunch.
And all the money will help reach either buy a new building or rebuilt on 3rd Street.

“When Reach burned down it made me really upset,” said Cody Wibel, who’s been a Reach client for 11 years.

He says is looking forward to the day reach has a place to call their own again.

“It brought us more together, it gave us stronger desire to do what we do and value the important services that we're giving out,” added Ganong.

“And it's really opened our eyes to how much the community appreciates what we do every day.”

Reach Inc. says they're hoping to make a decision on whether to buy an existing building or rebuild early next year.

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