Westland community helps family rebuild - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Westland community helps family rebuild after fire destroys business

Posted: Updated:

Seven months ago an arson fire in Westland destroyed two businesses. A local firefighter, Brian Woehlke, was also killed in the fire.

The Marvaso family owned Marvaso's Italian Grille, one of the businesses that burned down. Monday night the community held a fundraiser to help the family.

The fundraiser comes almost two weeks after state police opened a homicide investigation in the Woehlke's death, after investigators determined that arson caused the fire that killed him and destroyed the businesses.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to learn more about the fundraiser and the Marvasos in a report from Fox 2's Maurielle Lue, or read it below
____________________

"George and Mary over the years have been pillars in the community. They have given to everybody and everything."

But now its George and Mary who need help. Both of their businesses were destroyed in a brutal fire back in May.

The ruins of the Marvaso Italian Grille and The Electric Stick, the family-owned pool hall, stand tall in the blustery winds. The fire, later ruled arson, claimed the life of 29-year-old firefighter Brian Woehlke.

"Losing the firefighter Brian, and George and Mary and the Marvaso family were right on board with those fundraisers and trying to help that family as much as possible, and we felt like we just needed to do something for them," says Dennis Lemaitre, a fundraiser organizer.

The Marvasos put on a brave face attending fundraisers and donating to other causes but no one knew they were quietly drowning. Friends say struggling to support their own family and keep their house.

"Any group or organization that ever knocked on their door for help for a fundraiser; help us with our golf outing; help us with our school play; help us with this; they were always there, always writing a check. They were the go-to people in this community," Lemaitre adds. "They are such a proud, hardworking family that George never let on they were having any problems at all."

Westland's business community is stepping up for the Marvaso's reminding them they are not alone. So Monday night friends, families and businesses - people once touched by the Marvaso's generosity, now paying it forward.

"George and Mary Marvaso have supported the community for many years and every time in rotary we had a fundraiser and we needed help we'd ask and, of course, they would generously donate, so we have some people attending here and we're going to make a small donation to support the family," says Mary Vellardiat of the Westland Rotary Club.

"Over the weeks I think they have come to accept that this community just really wants to help them," says Lemaitre.

The fundraiser was from 5 - 8 p.m. Monday at the Westland Charshouse Restaurant on Warren Road.

If you were unable to attend the fundraiser but would still like to donate, you can do so at any Fifth Third Bank.

  • Maurielle LueMaurielle LueMore>>

  • Attorney wants investigation of city clerk over Arab-American voter suppression

    Attorney wants investigation of city clerk over Arab-American voter suppression

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 11:43 PM EDT2014-07-30 03:43:20 GMT
    It is the tale of two cities. one paints a picture of a meticulous Dearborn Heights city clerk, following the law and fighting for a fair election. The other a story of abuse of power, mishandled ballots and voter suppression.Fatima Abdrabboh is an attorney and Michigan's director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee the largest chapter in the country. She is calling for a full-scale investigation into claims that Walter Prusiewicz mishandled ballots from Arab-American voters fo...
    It is the tale of two cities. one paints a picture of a meticulous Dearborn Heights city clerk, following the law and fighting for a fair election. The other a story of abuse of power, mishandled ballots and voter suppression.Fatima Abdrabboh is an attorney and Michigan's director of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee the largest chapter in the country. She is calling for a full-scale investigation into claims that Walter Prusiewicz mishandled ballots from Arab-American voters fo...
  • Detroit teen recovering after basketball accident at park

    Detroit teen recovering after basketball accident at park

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:51 PM EDT2014-07-29 02:51:50 GMT
    A Detroit teen is seriously hurt after an accident at a Detroit park. He has a long road to recovery ahead, but has a strong support system that isn't giving up hope.
    A Detroit teen is seriously hurt after an accident at a Detroit park. He has a long road to recovery ahead, but has a strong support system that isn't giving up hope.

  • Marygrove College president wants to help child immigrants

    Marygrove College president wants to help child immigrants

    Thursday, July 17 2014 7:37 PM EDT2014-07-17 23:37:56 GMT
    The immigration crisis at the border continues to make its way to Michigan. Now, the president of Marygrove College says he wants to provide resources to help child immigrants from Central America.
    The immigration crisis at the border continues to make its way to Michigan. Now, the president of Marygrove College says he wants to provide resources to help child immigrants from Central America.
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • New DTE app lets users check their energy use

    New DTE app lets users check their energy use

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-08-01 23:59:24 GMT
    Joel Miller, a senior strategist with DTE Energy, gave us some insight -- on DTE insight. The new, free smart phone app helps customers see their energy use hour by hour -- or minute by minute."By studying your data and by looking around your home you can discover what things are using energy," Miller said. Then, you make choices -- replace appliances or physically turn off whatever's not needed -- or is wasting energy, and save money on your energy bill in the process."I think for a lot of u...
    Joel Miller, a senior strategist with DTE Energy, gave us some insight -- on DTE insight. The new, free smart phone app helps customers see their energy use hour by hour -- or minute by minute."By studying your data and by looking around your home you can discover what things are using energy," Miller said. Then, you make choices -- replace appliances or physically turn off whatever's not needed -- or is wasting energy, and save money on your energy bill in the process."I think for a lot of u...
  • Backyard Bliss: The Brown family's backyard

    Backyard Bliss: The Brown family's backyard

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:07 PM EDT2014-08-01 23:07:48 GMT
    Living is easy in the summertime, and some of the very best times are often found right in our own backyard.
    Living is easy in the summertime, and some of the very best times are often found right in our own backyard.
  • Immigration issue hits home in Farmington Hills

    Immigration issue hits home in Farmington Hills

    Friday, August 1 2014 7:04 PM EDT2014-08-01 23:04:59 GMT
    Illegal immigration is an issue that seems to have much of the country at odds, spurring protests from coast to coast and even requests for immigration reform. Now, that concern is really coming to a local level with talk of illegal immigrants headed to places like Vassar, Bay City - and now Farmington Hills.The illegal immigrant children will be headed to Farmington Hills in the next couple weeks, likely before the end of the month. Wellspring Lutheran Services will provide their shelter, fo...
    Illegal immigration is an issue that seems to have much of the country at odds, spurring protests from coast to coast and even requests for immigration reform. Now, that concern is really coming to a local level with talk of illegal immigrants headed to places like Vassar, Bay City - and now Farmington Hills.The illegal immigrant children will be headed to Farmington Hills in the next couple weeks, likely before the end of the month. Wellspring Lutheran Services will provide their shelter, fo...
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices