Shelter receives good news following devastating fire


Photo by John Bryant
In the wake of a tragedy that destroyed a damaged structure on the ground of the Shepard's Inn domestic violence and temporary homeless shelter, Wal-Mart awarded the shelter with a $1,000 grant. Shown are Wal-Mart store Co-Manager Keith Davidson, left, and Paul Gabinet, executive director of the Shepard's Inn.

By Abby Morris-Frye
star staff
amorris@starhq.com
  The silver lining on a dark cloud could not have shown through at a better time for Paul Gabinet, executive director of the Shepherd's Inn domestic violence and temporary homeless shelter.
  Recently, a fire did considerable damage to a residential structure located on the grounds of the shelter. The structure, which served as an apartment building with two apartments, sustained fire, smoke and water damage as a result of the blaze.
  "The property was used as a major source of income to cover the shelter's mortgage," Gabinet said, adding that both of the apartments are currently unrentable and the shelter has lost that source of income.
  However, the shelter was recently awarded two grants which will help it out financially. The Speedway Children's Charities Foundation through the Bristol Motor Speedway recently awarded the Shepherd's Inn with a $5,000 grant. Then on Wednesday, the shelter received a $1,000 grant from the Elizabethton Wal-Mart through the Wal-Mart Foundation.
  Gabinet said that the grants will help with the day-to-day operations of the shelter, but the apartments need to be repaired in order to return that source of income to the shelter.
  The shelter had insurance on the building, according to Gabinet, and the shelter and insurance company are working together on the claim but it will take time to process. In the meantime, the shelter is left without a very important source of income.
  According to a report regarding the fire, the blaze began in the attic area of the two-apartment building and was of an undetermined nature.
  Gabinet said that the shelter is hoping for donations of money, time and materials to assist in getting the apartments back as a viable source of income for the shelter. "I have faith that the community will respond and help us with the mortgage until the building can be repaired and I have faith that the community will respond with donations and materials to help us with this project," he said. "The community has always responded to the needs of the shelter. It's overwhelming to me at times of the heartfelt responses from businesses and individuals, especially when it comes to women and children who have nowhere to turn to at the lowest point in their lives."
  The Shepherd's Inn is also preparing to hold its annual Christmas dinner fund-raiser. The event, which is in its sixth year, will be held on Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church and is sponsored by the church as well as the American Culinary Federation -- Mountain Empire Chapter. Tickets are required to attend the event.
  Anyone seeking information about tickets to the Christmas Dinner can call 542-0180.
  Anyone wishing to make a contribution to either the operating fund or the building fund can call 542-0180 or send their donation to: The Shepherd's Inn, P.O. Box 2214, Elizabethton, TN 37644.