John Hartman has been as good a friend as I could ever ask for for over 20 years. A couple of nights ago, he woke up in his Portland apartment to fire and smoke. When he opened the bedroom door, he saw that the entire apartment was engulfed in fire. Purely on instinct he knew that he'd better run for his life and hope to find a way to safety. Without a second to get his bearings or even grab his phone, he somehow found his way out through fire and smoke and was admitted to the hospital for smoke inhalation of burns. That was around 4am. His long time girlfriend Melissa had been out of town for a pinball tournament with her team and wasn't able to get back to the shocking scene until 10am. Apparently, one of the apartments below them had caught fire and it ended up burning their entire apartment down completely.
The attached picture shows what was left of their place. They lost everything. All they have left is what little Melissa had in her suitcase for the pinball tournament and the t-shirt and boxers John had been sleeping in. That's it. That's all that is left of everything they own.
These are GOOD people. These are good PINBALL people. Last I checked, John was ranked 20th in Oregon, and if you know that pinball scene, you've gotta be pretty damn good to rank that high! He's a lot better than my sorry self, that's for sure! Melissa is ranked 62nd in Oregon. Again, quite the player. She is one of the great champions of women in pinball that we have in this hobby. She created and self publishes the pinball Zine "Slap Save" for the Portland market, and has started and run NUMEROUS pinball events and tournaments. They don't own any machines themselves (although they were saving for one before this happened), but still they both play EVERY DAY. They are the types who can talk pinball with you for hours and hours and only stop because they have to.
I can't even imagine if I lost everything I owned, yet their spirits are high and Melissa is even finding a way to keep the next issue of Slap Save on target for release. John has been released from the hospital and is doing much better now. They keep a strong front for the sake of each other, but the truth is that they need help. Melissa's sister started up a GoFundMe for them to help get them back on their feet. I know John doesn't like to ask for charity, but there are times in life when we all need a bit of help, and right now they could use a lot. So please, if any of you can spare even a few dollars to help these great folks out, I would be very grateful, and I know how grateful they will be. Thanks so much for reading this and for any help you might give to them!
This is the link to the fundraiser: https://www.gofundme.com/melissa-johns-fire-recovery-fund