Community to rally to help Westfield family

Posted February 6, 2020 at 6:00 am

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By Julie Ann Madden

A fundraiser is being held to help a Westfield couple who lost everything Jan. 16 in a house fire.

From 5:00 – 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 11, the Akron Pizza Ranch is hosting a Community Impact Night to benefit Terry and Martha Kratz.

The fundraiser, which is sponsored by Local 42 International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, includes a silent auction, raffle and full Pizza Ranch buffet. Ten percent of Pizza Ranch sales during the fundraiser and 100 percent of any donations received will go to the couple.

All that’s left of their two-story home is two concrete basement walls.

At about 4 a.m. that Sunday morning, Terry and Martha Kratz were awakened by their house cats acting wild. They discovered their house on fire, and in just over a minute, the house was fully engulfed in flames. They made it out but their cats didn’t.

The fire was determined to have started in their house’s chimney. In addition to losing everything they had in the home, they lost an RV motor home, car trailer and Terry’s gun collection.

The fire’s heat was so intense things 150 feet from the house melted, said Martha, who didn’t have time to grab shoes as they left their home that night. “People have been so generous.”

Terry continues to have medical treatments on burns he sustained in the fire.

Terry and Martha Kratz have lived in rural Westfield since 1976.

Their son, Craig, graduated with Akron-Westfield’s Class of 1987 and now lives in Sioux City with his wife, Shelly.

Terry and Martha also have two granddaughters attending Augustana University, one a freshman and the other a senior.

The couple enjoys flea marketing and gardening.

Terry, who worked as a diesel mechanic at Midwest Continental in Sioux City, is retired.

However, they call themselves “semi-retired” as Terry still helps when needed and together the couple raises livestock and operates Martha’s Junk & Treasures at area flea markets.

The “born and raised” Iowans just do their own thing, they told The Akron Hometowner. “We’re quiet people (who love living in the Loess Hills countryside).”

They are working through the process to rebuild their home and refurnish it — they had no insurance.

They are temporarily staying with their son and their daughter-in-law. But most of the time, they can be found trying to pick up the pieces of their life.

They can’t say enough about the great response of the Akron Fire Department and the surrounding community. The help they are receiving is greatly appreciated.

Area people are encouraged to help this “retired” couple as they start their life over. All are invited to participate in the fundraiser.

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