A silver lining

Photographer aims to give back to fire companies

Sentinel photo by TABITHA GOODLING
Local photographer Rachel Glendye with her family inside their Mifflintown home. Rachel, left, holds Olivia while David holds Cameron. The family lost their first house to a fire in January.

MIFFLINTOWN — A local photographer who lost her home in a blaze earlier this year is capturing happier moments on camera and expressing her gratitude.

Rachel Glendye and her husband David and two small children were not home the evening of Jan. 25 when fire broke out in their home near Port Royal.

Though it was a total loss, the photographer kept thinking for months after the event she should thank the firefighters and the community for the outpouring of generosity.

Sunday she is holding her first “Pay What You Can Day.” Glendye decided to do 10 minute photo shoots for anyone who wishes to donate toward Mifflintown Hose Company One and Friendship Fire Company. Photos will be taken all day Sunday from at 9 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. at the boating access in Mifflintown. Interested persons must reserve their time.

When Glendye first made the announcement a few weeks ago, slots were filled immediately. She enlisted the help of another photographer, Moonstone Photography by Alysha, to take on 40 more slots at the same time. There are were just over 30 slots available as of Friday. People who want to reserve a time can call (717) 348-9242 or message Glendye on her photography Facebook page.

In that 10 minutes Glendye said she will shoot as much as she can, whether someone is seeking kids’ photos, couples’ photos, senior portraits or simple headshots.

The subjects will get access to an online album where they can download and print their own photos. If the persons wish to have quality printing from Glendye, there will be an additional fee.

Glendye had just opened her own photo studio in downtown Port Royal a couple months prior to her home fire. All cameras, prints and other equipment were in her home at the time and were lost along with her own personal family photos and many other important items.

The family lost three pets in the blaze as well.

Even though they had nothing the morning of Jan. 26, they could have lost so much more, Glendye said.

The family of four, which included their 3-year-old daughter and 6-month-old son, had gone to dinner in Selinsgrove the evening of Jan. 25. They were driving home after 11 p.m. when the fire started.

Had they been home, they would have been asleep at that time, she said. And though the cause is unknown, it is thought to have started in her infant son’s bedroom.

The home sat high upon a hill tucked away in the Tuscarora State Forest. As the family drove toward home that night unaware of what was happening, they made their way through Pfoutz Valley, still miles away, and they could see flames near the mountain. At that very moment, Glendye said, her mother called her cell phone.

It was reported on social media there was a house fire near Rapp’s Garage, which is located just below the Glendye home.

Because of the steep driveway, fire trucks struggled to get up the home, parking instead at the bottom and running hoses up.

The home, which was assumed to have been built sometime in the 1940s or 1950s as a hunting cabin, was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived.

“We have no neighbors,” Glendye said, but people who had been asleep in houses down the road heard an explosion.

That night the Glendye family met the American Red Cross workers at the Walmart in Lewistown. They were given funds and were buying as much as they could, “just filling up a cart” in shock, she said.

The next day community members helped the family find a home rent free for six months. Donations came from many people, she said.

The family had homeowners insurance, they have since purchased a home in Mifflintown, and Glendye is back to doing what she loves.

“Before I ever had my camera replaced, I knew I have to do something to say thank you,” Glendye said.

She plans to do this again in the spring and give funds to additional fire companies in the area.