Surprise check helps Prophetstown fire victim

Two months after a massive fire destroyed eight businesses, a big surprise for one woman in Prophetstown. She now has some extra help to rebuild.

On the early morning of July 15, 2013, flames and smoke filled the air in Prophetstown, Illinois.

“It was just horrifying, grabbed my cell phone and started running out the front door and then you could hear things exploding,” said Cindy Eriks.

Among the buildings destroyed was Eriks’ business, Cindy Jean’s restaurant, which is now just a pile of bricks.

“I wanted to make anybody feel comfortable and happy and walk out a better person when they were done,” said Eriks.

Not only did Eriks lose her business, she lost her home. She lived upstairs in the sameĀ  building.

“In the afternoon I would run up, do laundry, a little bit of book work, then run back down for dinner,” said Eriks.

The fire forced her to put her passion for cooking on hold.

“Cooking is what I feel comfortable doing. It’s natural and it brings comfort to me to be able to cook,” said Eriks.

Royal Neighbors and Nation of Neighbors heard about Eriks story and surprised her with a gift. They presented her with a $500 check to put toward rebuilding her business.

“I’m just thrilled that people thought that much of me to nominate me,” said Eriks.

It’s money that can help her to rebuild her dream so she can one day bring happiness to people again.

“My goal is to make people happy with food and I think I did make a lot of people happy,” said Eriks.

Ericks hopes to start rebuilding early next spring.

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