The owner of the home, Mary Guthrie, is a 64-year-old grandmother who was in the hospital when the fire occurred, having suffered a stroke the week before.
When the Lee’s Summit Fire Department arrived, according to Assistant Fire Chief Jim Eden, heavy smoke and fire was coming out of the second floor and roof.
Fire fighters entered the home to combat the fire and make sure no one else was in the house as Al had escaped safely.
The fire took over an hour to put out, as fire fighters were forced to leave the building and fight the fire from the outside.
The fire caused severe damage to the home, making it unsafe to enter and is still under investigation.
This home was more than just a home. It was here that Mary launched and ran her ‘Giant Step Special Need’ program; a non-for-profit designed care for special needs children from birth to age 21, for 16 years.
As her health began to fail a few years ago, she dialed back and became a counselor, helping parents of children with special needs.
Mary’s daughter and son-in-law Cloyd, arrived from Beijing, China with their three children on December 19 in order to help Mary put her things into storage and move out to Arizona with her husband.
They did not know that Mary was in ICU of a local hospital when they landed.
Cloyd through his employer was able to cut his China work short and was able to be transferred the Arizona office. They only spent three years in China instead of five to move back to the States to help Mary.
According to Mickey Tavenner, her mom had coded twice just the other day and then her house burned.
"They say God only gives you what you can handle and God must think I can handle a lot," Mickey, said.
According to Mickey, Mary did not have fire insurance.
For several years, Mary wrote a weekly column titled ‘Musings’ for the Lee’s Summit Tribune. She has written episodes for Roseanne, In Living Color, Major Dad and Murphy Brown.
As of press time, Mary is out of the ICU unit and Al is staying with a local relative.
Mary has dedicated so much of her life to helping others but now she could use a helping hand. For Tax Deductible Donations you may write a check payable to:
Autism Outreach Fellowship 501(c)(3), In the Memo Line write Mary Guthrie Fund
Mail Checks to:
Autism Outreach Fellowship
P.O. Box 2407, Lee’s Summit, MO 64063
(you will receive tax donation letter as a receipt)
Non-Taxable Donations made to:
Commerce Bank Account #1234571797
Life changes in a heartbeat, let’s show Mary our hearts.
The Tribune will keep you informed as other needs are known.