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Skiatook Rallies To Support Football Foe After Deadly Fire

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Tom DeClue's instincts kicked in when he heard about the Guthrie fire, and he jumped at the chance to help. Tom DeClue's instincts kicked in when he heard about the Guthrie fire, and he jumped at the chance to help.
The family of 9-month-old Harlem Lee still is reeling after the baby died in a massive apartment fire in Guthrie.

Investigators said the fire started in the center part of the building.

Eight families lost everything, but support has poured in from some of the unlikeliest places.

11/16/2012 Related Story: Player's Death Unites Ada And Cleveland During Playoffs

There are more than 100 miles between Guthrie and Skiatook, and while football playoffs in Oklahoma are fierce, this community is proving that it's more than just a game.

As flames burned the Guthrie morning sky, a Skiatook chiropractor was watching.

“I woke up, and the first story on the news was about the fire,” Tom DeClue said.

Instinctively, DeClue wanted to help.

“I just said, 'Ya know, let's just do something,'” he said.

So DeClue took his plan to Facebook in an effort to raise money for the fire victims.

“People just, 'Yeah, let's do it.' Boom, boom, boom -- people I don't know messaging me,” he said. “I spent the whole day barely able to work.”

But it was still time well spent, and as the day went on, donations poured in. More than $600 in gift cards were raised in a 24-hour period.

11/18/2014 Related Story: Infant Killed, Multiple Injuries Reported In Large Guthrie Fire

The Guthrie Bluejays are playing in Skiatook in Friday's football playoffs. That's when DeClue will give the money to the team's coach.

“Almost brought a tear to my eye talking to him,” DeClue said. “I got done talking to him and my daughter was here and she said, 'Dad, are you OK?' Because, like right now, just talking about it makes me...”

It's the emotion that has a community rallying for the competition that's coming to town.

“We're praying for all of them, every single family, we are praying for them and we hope that they get what they need,” Skiatook resident Tracy Rosser said.

And DeClue prays the little bit of help he's giving will go a long way in the end.

“[What] I hope to do, is by us doing something, it sparks somebody else to step up to do something to help them,” DeClue said.

Donations will be accepted before and during Friday's game in Skiatook. There will be a table set up outside the stadium for anyone who wants to stop by, or you can also call or drop by DeClue's office or message him on Facebook. The initiative has raised $3,000 and counting.

DeClue Family Chiropractic
208 Bulldog Blvd.
Skiatook, OK 74070

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