KINGMAN – A local family opened their door for April Watahomigie and her five children nearly a week after their home was destroyed by a fire.
Veterans at Sea CEO and founder Charles Black and his family hosted the Watahomigie family for dinners and gifts Christmas weekend. The cause became personal after Black realized his stepson Ethan is best friends with Ignacio, one of the displaced boys. Ignacio has helped Black with his non-profit veteran’s organization on several occasions.
While the Watahomigie family is still staying at Best Western Kings Inn on Andy Devine Avenue, Black felt the least he could do was provide some semblance of a holiday.
“That was the worst time of year for that to happen,” he said. “We weren’t going to let those kids suffer with no Christmas.”
Black contacted Casey Farrell (wife of Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council President Pat Farrell) who helps organize the annual Toys for Tots toy drive through the Kingman Marine Corps League Detachment No. 887. He also arranged for the Kingman Fire Department to stop by his house and pass out toys to the kids. Black’s wife, Emily, reached out through social media and got some clothes donations. He wanted to find a way for the kids to not associate the firefighters with disaster.
“As a good gesture, I gave them gifts to give to the kids,” Black said.
The Black home was a full house both Christmas Eve and Christmas night. The Watahomigie family joined Black’s wife, her four kids ages 5 to 15 and her mother. The family is still slept at Best Western during the holiday and Black provided transportation.
The kids got presents of toys and clothes. The boys got action figures, remote control cars, a basketball and a football. Lexie, the 12-year-old girl, got makeup and some craft kits. Black is working to get furniture donations for when the family finds a new home. A local couple paid for their stay through Jan. 2. Watahomigie is in the process of looking at rental homes but has no idea what happens after their stay is up.
The community has continued to contact her to find out what the family still needs. They’ve gotten a few small monetary donations, and her church, Kingman First Assembly of God, is doing what they can for the family, including spiritual guidance.
“I’m still keeping the faith that God will lead us,” she said. “We’re taking it one day at a time. Words can’t say enough about what everyone has done.”