As testimony to their character and benevolence, New York District Letter Carriers showered co-worker Jean Wijaya with help and support after her family lost all their possessions to a devastating house fire in Queens NY.
While most Americans were gearing up for the Memorial Day holiday on the morning of May 28, 2012, Wijaya and her family found themselves fleeing their rented home after a neighbor had alerted them of the fire spreading throughout the three-family wood frame house.
Fortunately everyone in the house got out safely, but after the FDNY had put the fire out, the structure was deemed unlivable and the Wijayas were suddenly homeless––left with literally just the clothes on their backs.
Still in shock, Wijaya called her friend and co-worker Marguerite Brybag-Kelly who immediately offered them a place to stay.
“Jean is a good friend,” said Brybag-Kelly, “My place is small, but I dropped everything I was doing to help her out.”
“My husband went to stay with family and friends, while the children and I stayed with Marguerite,” said Wijaya. “It was chaos. But the next day, I went to work.”
|Some of the Letter Carriers at JAF who came together to help co-worker Jean Wijaya and her family|
Word spread quickly among all employees and Letter Carriers from Lenox Hill North and Franklin D. Roosevelt stations began their own collection for the family. When The Better Angels of Our Human Nature, a charitable organization started by Postal employees, learned about Wijaya’s situation, they collected funds to buy her new Postal uniforms.
“I was really overwhelmed at how generous everyone was to me and my family,” smiled Wijaya.
Things started looking up for the Wijayas––who were already in contract to buy a house––after they asked their attorney to speed up the closing process, and amazingly they were able to close and move into their new home just five days after the blaze had turned their lives upside-down. “We had no furniture at all in our new house so we slept on the floor. But at least we didn’t have a lot to move,” laughed Wijaya.
Thanks again to her pal Marguerite, furniture started coming in.
“My sister was moving to a new place, so I asked her to contribute a bed room set and a kitchen table,” said Brybag-Kelly. “Jean is such a good person that I was happy to help anyway I could.”
“I think Jean may have not realized how strong the unity we have here is,” said JAF Letter Carrier Shameeka France. “We are a Postal family, and we all look out for each other.”
“It’s a blessing the way everybody came together to help,” said Wijaya as she and her family are gradually easing back into a more routine lifestyle. “I really feel the love from all my co-workers. I don’t know how we would have made it without them.”