When Megan Greatsinger, 17, came home from work on Nov. 24, she saw flames coming from a nearby neighborhood. It was at that moment the wheels began turning in her mind - she had to help.
The flames Greatsinger saw were coming from the Wiehe family home on Duncan Drive in Horseheads. Firefighters from the Horseheads, Elmira Heights and other area companies battled the flames, but the home was destroyed and three pets killed.
The fire was accidental and started in the kitchen, according to Chemung County fire investigators.
Just days after the fire, Greatsinger enlisted her fellow SkillsUSA members and GST BOCES students to help the family in need.
"We like to help out the community as best as we can," said SkillsUSA member Alex Wheeler, 18.
As a national nonprofit organization that serves teachers and high school and college students preparing for careers in trade occupations, SkillsUSA empowers its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens.
"It's a hard time of year," Greatsinger said. "It makes us feel great that we're all pulling together in their favor."
In two weeks, the students raised $1,000, along with various gift cards. Greatsinger and Wheeler presented the donations to the Wiehe family Wednesday.
"It's kind of amazing," said Christopher Wiehe. "You don't realize all the people out there that are willing to help."
Wiehe, his wife, and their three young children are now living with Wiehe's parents. All of the donations the family has received have been put into a savings account to help the family rebuild.
"You don't get to meet each person who has donated," Wiehe said. "We just want to say 'thank you' to all of them."