THROWBACK THURSDAY: Making an offer to refugees

This is a story from the WQAD News 8 archives from May 1999 by reporter Patty Culhane.

VIOLA, Illinois – You probably remember mom telling you not to play ball in the house.

That's not even a question here.

This is where Susan and Terry Peroutka and their three children play, work, live, and learn.

The old Winola High School leaves them plenty of space.   Just the thing that's so sorely needed overseas.

"We can very comfortably house a family with ten kids," said Susan Peroutka back in May of 1999.

And they won't be doing it alone.   All day neighbors and strangers have been dropping by to offer help.

"You see the TV footage and even then I don't think it really describes what's going on in those people's hearts," said Susan.   "So for us, it's just a, there's a mom and a dad with kids who need a roof over their head."

They realize theirs is an offer that almost no one other can make.   After all, who else can say that they own an old high school?

"Really bizarre, interesting... unique people," Terry Peroutka described his unique home to us.

"Unique, I'll go with that: unique."

"We're different."

And being different might just make all the difference for a family just like their's now living a world away.

"I don't think ours is so much any more a world where there's me over here and there's those people all the way over there.  Okay?" says Terry.

"It's kind of a world community, you know?  And I think we all have to do our part."