It's Been an Awful Week for Our Area -- Pray for Those Impacted

Praiseworthy Update:  

The Humble Hero (boy and his friends were recognized on Wednesday, July 31st) and the outpouring of support provided abundantly and now the donations are to stop and the overflow will go to other charities!  

The week began with news that two of three boys swimming in the rain-swollen Neshaminy Creek were missing and later found dead.  The third boy was able to swim/climb to safety. 

I knew something was really wrong when I came back from lunch on Tuesday with a congregant/friend in Bensalem and saw two marine units, one from Philadelphia. 

Body of Second Missing Bensalem Teen Found 

It ended with a devastating fire at an apartment complex that killed no one, thankfully, but left many people with total losses.

Racquet Club Apartments Fire


It was an awful week but one in which to thank God: for first responders, for a 12 year old hero and for the generosity of strangers.  

Our first responders have had a heart-rending week and many tears are being shed by those impacted by these losses.   

Credit: Amanda Kuehnle/
And a hero emerges:

After a game of manhunt Friday night with his friends, twelve-year-old Ilijah Rodriguez raced home. On his way to his corner apartment in A building of Racquet Club, he caught a glimpse of a blaze rupturing through B building, just steps away. At which time he gathered his friends together and raced towards the burning building – where they knocked on doors alerting residents to get out. Rodriguez’ bravery and swift actions Friday night saved countless lives, and now local community members want to give him the credit he deserves.

And yet, in the midst of the tragedies, apparently local people made in the image of God, have enough of God's image and likeness left despite sin to want to do something compassionate.

For locals who may wish to join the effort to assist the victims of the fire, the Courier Times gives this information:  

How you can help the Racquet Club fire victims

If you have clothing, household items, furniture or gift cards you’d like to donate to the victims of the Racquet Club apartment fires you can take them the Fraternal Order of Eagles at 920 Trenton Road in Falls Saturday through Monday. Email if you need to have a donation picked up.

Donations can also be dropped off starting Monday at the Walter Miller Elementary School, 10 Cobalt Ridge Dr South, Middletown starting at 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Items can include new or lightly-used clothing, detergents, pet supplies and toiletries, as well as gift cards. No toys, sports equipment or nonessential items.

The Detective Chris Jones Foundation will also be distributing items to fire displaced families later in the day. The complex will be notifying the effected residents of the donation distribution plans.

For more information about how to donation, if you can help sort items to be distributed, contact Rep. Frank Farry’s office on Monday at 215-752-6750 or email at

 Jo-Jo’s Ice Cream, at 8801 New Falls Road in Falls, will hold a fundraiser from noon to 9 p.m. Aug. 17 for the Racquet Club Apartments residents.

Times like these make us thank God for our first responders and perhaps remember them when fundraisers or fundraising letters come to our residences

It also reminds us that someone doing something selflessly can make a huge difference.  A hero isn't someone who isn't scared but someone who despite that fear does what needs to be done.  And there are no age requirements to be one just the willingness to act when the moment arises. 

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