LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Euiaeu family came to the United States in 2010 as refugees from the Republic of Congo and built their life in Lexington.
The large family of eight struggled to make ends meet but found strength in each other.
“Things were going good but in just one minute, things changed,” said Roger Euiaeu.
Euiaeu’s wife passed away unexpectedly in her sleep earlier this year. Alone in the U.S. with six children, Roger Euiaeu was forced to quit his job in order to take care of his kids full-time.
“It’s too much for me. I’m alone. But I think if God helps, I think He’ll help me for my family,” said Euiaeu.
However, help arrived in time for the holidays.
Off-duty Lexington police officer Ryan Holland launched an online fundraiser for the family after hearing their story. The fundraiser raised thousands of dollars within days and surpassed its goal of $15,000.
“Originally, my goal was just to come over and see if the kids were set up to get Christmas presents and things like that,” said Holland. “I came over here and it was a little bit more than just Christmas presents needed.”
Officer Holland is overseeing the renovation of run-down areas in the Euiaeu family’s home. Some new furniture will arrive in the coming days, including beds so the family will no longer need to sleep on old mattresses on the floor.
“I don’t think they were ready for the magnitude of how well people were going to bless them. I think every day he can see that light at the end of the tunnel and the goodness of the community,” said Holland.
A Lexington mom also shared Euiaeu’s story in a Facebook group asking for help for the family. Donations poured in and on Friday a truck loaded with clothing, bedding, groceries and other items arrived at the house.
“I think this is really exciting for them and I think this is really life-changing for them,” said Beth Pickrell, the donation drive organizer.
“God bless them,” said Euiaeu. “We are blessed, also.”
The fundraiser is now closed. If you would like to make a donation or find out how you can help the Euiaeu family, you can reach out to Officer Holland at firstname.lastname@example.org.