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Holly community supports one another after tragic fire

Posted at 10:18 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 23:40:06-04

HOLLY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — They may not be related, but the people sitting just 100 feet away from the site of Tuesday's massive fire in downtown Holly say they are family.

The group of 10 bonded together through Andy’s Place, a bar and restaurant they worked at.

“We were out here yesterday and today as well, pretty much mourning the place because we don’t know if it will have to be torn down yet,” said a woman who has worked there since 2017.

Andy’s Place is one of the three buildings destroyed in Tuesday's fire. But Wednesday was already a sign of hope.

“A lot of people have come and shown support,” the woman continued.

There's been support physically and financially with a GoFundMe page raising over $1,000 as of Wednesday night to help staff who are out of work.

“Last night, we had more than 2,100 text messages and phone calls,” said George Kutlenios, who owns the Holly Hotel.

For 44 years the historic building has been under Kutlenios's care. His business, now a popular wedding venue, was booked solid this weekend. He says it was devastating to have to cancel one in particular.

“She was a school teacher at Oxford High School right in the middle of that horrible tragedy this year. We wanted hers to be extra special,” Kutlenios said.

But instead of canceling, he says a few of his friends called and said, “George we got this.”

And together, Kutlenios says they will be hosting the wedding at his farm.

Related: PHOTOS: Massive fire burns building in downtown Holly

Kyle Boggemes and Katie O’Keefe have a similar story. We featured the couple on 7 Action News Tuesday night who were scrambling after the Holly Hotel fire canceled their wedding.

Since our story aired, the soon-to-be-husband and wife say they have received an outpouring of support.

“It’s been really shocking in a very positive way how willing to help this community is in this area,” O'Keefe said.

The pair are now scheduled to be married at the Holly Vault Collective, with teams coming together to throw them a more extravagant wedding than what they originally had planned.

“They are really making some magic happen,” O'Keefe said.