Aurora firefighter collects gifts for Highlands Ranch family displaced by fire

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. -- It’s the season of giving, and for those who are dealing with loss, that can be a little challenging.

“We had as much of a normal Christmas as we could,” said Tiffany Johnston.

Ten days before Christmas, a garage fire sparked in the Johnstons' Highlands Ranch home. While crews were able to save the structure, smoke damage has made the home unlivable. 

“Our entire house has to be gutted, so we’re out for a minimum of a year,” Johnston said.

When Aurora Firefighter Paul Shoemaker heard about their story, he didn’t hesitate to do what he could to help. This is the fourth year he’s rallied the community to collect gifts, donations and cards for families displaced by fires close to the holidays.

“Probably the coolest thing is seeing the businesses that step up, and seeing the people come to my door,” Shoemaker said.

Families gave Shoemaker gift cards and enough presents to fill his flat-bed truck to give to the Johnstons and their two daughters.

“It is humbling. It definitely restored our faith in humanity,” Johnston said, wiping back tears. “It’s very kind. To help us -- and help my kids, most importantly -- have as normal of a Christmas as possible, it’s beyond words.”

The family Shoemaker helped last year was in a good enough place to donate to the Johnstons this year, paying forward the act of kindness.

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