Even small gifts change lives

Pay It Forward

Following Fire, Father and Son Find Hope Amid Tragedy

In the aftermath of a fire that damaged 3 homes, destroying most of his, Darrin Anderson was in shock. But he says the community support he’s received has helped him through it.

“We’ve been staying positive. The support that we’ve had has been really great, so it’s hard to be sad about things because it’s so beautiful the way people have stepped up.” – Darrin Anderson, Pay It Forward recipient

Bell Employee

Cindy Lien, Administrative Project Support Specialist



Darrin and Brycen Anderson

The Need

As he was leaving work at the end of the day April 19, Darrin got a call saying his neighbor’s home was on fire, and it looked like it might spread to his house. Driving home, he and his son, Brycen, could see the plume of smoke.

When they arrived, the streets were blocked off, and firefighters were working to contain the blaze. In the end, 3 houses were damaged, and 85 percent of Darrin and Brycen’s home was destroyed. Investigators ruled the cause accidental.

Brycen’s pet turtle, Spike, died in the fire.

“I just really miss my pet turtle,” Brycen remarks.

“He’s been really strong through this whole thing,” Darrin says of his son. “The first few days, I was just shocked. I didn’t know what to do.”

The Impact

The community has come together in many ways for the Andersons.

The West Fargo school administration has been really supportive, and the PTA took up a collection for Darrin and Brycen. They’ve received numerous offers of clothing. Brycen also received 93 handwritten letters from students in the YMCA child care program.

“It was really touching,” Darrin remarks. “It was really awesome.”

When Bell employee Cindy Lien, who is friends with Darrin’s mom, learned about the fire, she donated the rest of her Pay It Forward funds to help.

“I just thought of Darrin and Brycen right away, and I was just devastated to hear it,” Cindy comments. “To at least help them get going and rebuilding their lives, it means so much. It means a lot that the bank does this.”

Darrin plans to rebuild and hopes he and Brycen can move into their home by Thanksgiving.

There is a donation account for Darrin and Brycen set up at Bell Bank. To make a donation, stop by any Bell branch and let the teller know you would like to deposit funds into the Darrin Anderson benefit account, or mail a check to Darrin Anderson benefit account, Bell Bank, PO Box 10877, Fargo, N.D. 58106-0877.

Back to Giving Stories