GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Ira Bender says she has been best friends with Kim Webster for almost a decade and co-workers with her for the last five years.
"We met through a mutual friend and hit it off right away," Bender said.
Together at work, they help residents at Wyndemere Memory Care in Allouez. Bender says outside of work, they're inseparable.
Bender describes Webster as "amazing" and said everyone who knows her would say the same.
"She's an awesome mom, and she just has a beautiful personality," Bender said.
So, when the call came during work on Wednesday that Webster's house was on fire, they rushed over right away.
"Once we got there, we saw a lot of fire trucks and an ambulance, so she was just screaming hysterically," Bender said.
Bender said Webster's five children were home, and it was one of them who called Webster. Fortunately, the children and family dog made it out of the burning house safely, but the house had substantial damages.
The total damages are estimated to cost $80,000.
Bender said with Webster being a single mother and her best friend, she knew she had to do something big to help.
She said she had the idea to come together with her co-workers to start collecting items like clothes and shoes.
Webster's family was renting the home and didn't have renter's insurance, so Bender and her co-workers also started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the Webster family.
"We told her yesterday," Bender said. "She was excited, and she cried."
Cierra McMillian is another longtime co-worker and friend of Webster. She said their workplace is a family, and they're doing what families do by trying to help Webster.
"I was devastated. I rode past her house, and it was pretty sad," McMillian said. "I shedded a couple of tears for her and was like 'Oh my gosh, not the kids.' I hope everybody was okay."'
Bender said Webster and her children are currently staying in a hotel, and their future is unclear, but one thing is clear.
"The one thing I love about the residents in Green Bay is that we all come together in times of need like this," Bender said. "We've been a family here for five years, and everyone here has got your back."
Anyone looking to help the Webster family can visit the GoFundMe page.
Bender said they are accepting monetary donations or anyone interested in dropping off donations for hygienic or household products can contact the fundraiser organizer, Jennifer Owens, at 920-851-6145 or through the GoFundMe page.