Community raises money for displaced Do De residents

Ron Moorehead considers his former neighbors in the Hotel Do De his family. Friday was the family reunion.

The Bellefonte community rallied around the people who were displaced after the massive fire in September. Bellefonte residents Jenna Bair and Lori Houser hosted a benefit Friday night in Lambert Hall. All the proceeds went to the 21 fire victims.

“It’s awesome,” Moorehead said of the support. “All I can say is ‘wow.’ ”

Bair said a silent auction consisting of donated items from businesses and locals will provide the bulk of the fundraising for the tenants. There was also a raffle and $10 admission for attendees.

“Just knowing that the community cares is a lot to them,” she said.

Neither Bair nor Houser knows any of the former residents personally, but both have a connection to the building’s owner, John Dann, and wanted to show support for the victims.

Dann attended to see all of his former tenants in the same place one more time.

“That’s what this is all about,” he said. “Everyone getting together.”

Dann is also selling $20 Hotel Do De T-shirts and giving the money to his former residents, a group who he still refers to as “my tenants.” He ordered the shirts before the fire, but changed his business model after the tragedy.

Moorehead, who just found a new apartment last week, said if anyone didn’t have a place to go on the holidays they would all get together and Dann would provide food for the group.

One of the hardest parts about the change for Moorehead is not being able to see Dann and his former neighbors everyday, which is why he said he couldn’t wait to get to Friday’s gathering.

And he is incredibly grateful for everything that has been done for them.

“It makes me love Bellefonte,” he said.