Benefit held to honor two girls killed in Waco house fire
by Adam Shear
WACO - Donors at a benefit in downtown Waco Sunday were helping a family who lost two little girls in a devastating house fire June 16.
Last Saturday a fire at a home in the 1900-block of Cleveland Ave. took the lives of Rayah Hernandez, 11 months, and Eliana Gonzalez, 4.
Victoria Valenzuela, the 21 year-old aunt of those two girls, was in the house asleep when the electrical short sparked the fire, but she managed to escape the flames with her son Javier, 4 months, and nephew Joey Gonzalez, 6.
Just over a week after the family is still emotionally struggling with the loss.
"We're taking this how we can. We took a big loss," said Joe Gonzalez, Eliana's father. "I'd give anything just to have my daughter back, but I am blessed to have my son. I feel like maybe [God] needed her more than I did, so she's up there right now just waiting for us. We can't do nothing but just get ready to see her."
Shortly after the tragedy, a close family friend realized that the family would need help getting their lives back together. Michael Orlando, who says he considered Eliana a niece (despite having no blood-relation), organized a benefit held at Metro Bar and Grill on Austin Ave.
"It's hard for a family on any loss, but to lose two innocent babies, its a tough situation for any family to go through," said Orlando.
The 12-hour benefit included a silent auction, raffle, food, and a DJ playing music.
Amici's Italian Restaurant in Hewitt will be raising money for the family this week by donating portions of their food sales on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"I'm just real blessed to have this many people come out [to the event] and turn out like it did," said Joe Gonzalez. "I would've been fine with just a couple friends and family, but the way it turned out was real nice."
The family also was donated children's clothing in addition to the money they received Sunday.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 7:57 PM EDT2013-05-22 23:57:24 GMT
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