Friends rally around local paramedic who lost home to fire
A fire destroyed Manon Diotte's home April 28, and now her friends are trying to raise money to help her rebuild her life. (Photo courtesy of Jamie Kwong / GoFundMe)
OTTAWA -- A group of friends is hoping to raise money for a Prescott-Russell paramedic who lost her home to a fire earlier this week.
Manon Diotte is a community paramedic with the Prescott-Russell Paramedic Service, tasked with performing COVID-19 checks in the community. On April 28, a fire broke out at her duplex. No one was injured but both units were destroyed.
Her friend Jamie Kwong tells CTV News she and a group of about 10 others decided they needed to do something and, with Diotte's permission, put together an online fundraiser to help cover some immediate costs.
"She's not the type to ask for help," Kwong said of Diotte, "but we wanted to show her how much she and all other first responders are appreciated."
The fundraiser has been online for just over a day, and has already raised more than $7,000. Kwong says the outpouring of support astounds her.
"If you look in the comments, it's people who used to work with Manon who are donating and people who knew her. The support from the community has been incredible."
The fundraiser has a goal of $20,000. Kwong says the figure was reached when she and her friends looked into the cost of a mobile home, or something similar, to give Diotte a place to stay while she waits for her insurance coverage to come through and for the rebuilding process to begin.
"There's not a lot of available housing in Prescott-Russell where she lives," Kwong said, "so, if we couldn’t find her a place to rent, we could at least maybe get her something small for her property. She has insurance but that takes time."
Kwong expects the fundraiser to be active for about a week or two.
"Manon is the type to only take what she needs and say the rest can go elsewhere," she explained.
Kwong says the COVID-19 pandemic has created extra stress in what is already a stressful job. She says Diotte's message for everyone is to continue to stay home.
"You may think you're not doing anything or you may think it's boring, but it's one of the best ways you can help," Kwong said. "If you stay home, you reduce the risk for people like Manon who have to go out there every day during this pandemic."
Her message to Diotte is that she's supported.
"We need to help each other out when we need it, and we wanted to show her how much her work, and the work of all first responders matters to the community."