I recently became aware of a fantastic business that is right here in Geauga County and practically in my own back yard. It’s a used furniture store located in Middlefield called Comfortably Used. The owner, Doug Orosz, along with store manager and girlfriend, Gina Carmigiano, opened the store in May 2009. “Right off the bat, we began to get a lot of people in the store trying to replace certain items they lost in house fires.” explained Gina. Comfortably Used: Just Starting Out, Just Starting Over, or Just Because, is the store’s tagline and is a perfect way for people to purchase the furniture they need at an affordable price.
On December 25, 2010, Doug along with three of his children and Gina took a trip to Tennessee. It had started to snow about an hour from their destination and little did Doug know their GPS unit was reading inaccurately. The GPS unit instructed Doug to turn. Doug didn’t know it at the time but he was entering into a well-known stretch of road called “The Dragons Tail”. (This dangerous stretch of road runs from Tennessee to North Carolina and consists of encountering 318 curves in only 11 miles of road in parts of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park as well as part of the Cherokee National Forest.)
The roads were starting to get bad and their gas tank was on empty. It was 10 degrees outside and wind gusts were in excess of 50 mph. Doug fought as hard as he could to drive on the snowy roads, but unable to get any traction, Doug, Gina, and the kids were stuck. Doug called 911 and after waiting over four hours search and rescue could not find them. It was at that time that Doug and Gina started to pray. Doug put his truck in drive and continued up the mountain in complete white out conditions. After making it 7 miles they found themselves stuck again but this time with no cell phone signal.
The next morning as daylight broke; Doug decided to walk up the mountain to try and gain cell phone service. Without any winter boots or gloves, but rather in jeans, a hooded sweatshirt and tennis shoes, Doug told Gina and the kids that no matter what happened that he loved them as he got out of his truck and started walking. He walked until he couldn’t walk anymore and yelled out “Lord, I can’t go any further and I can’t go back, you know I am done, please help save my family.” At that moment Doug heard a truck. It was a hunter named Dave who trekked up the mountain to try and find his dog. Dave later told Doug that while standing in his kitchen he prayed “Lord, let me find my dog or someone that needs my help.” As fate would have it, Dave found his dog and Doug.
A few days later, Doug and Gina returned home only to receive a phone call of a house fire nearby where they lived. Everyone made it out ok but the house was completely destroyed. It was easy for them to empathize with this tragedy as Doug survived a house fire several years ago and Gina lost everything in a flood. At this point it became clear to both Doug and Gina that they needed to do something more.
Two years after Comfortably Used opened its doors, Caring Heart began. Heart, standing for “Helping Establish After Recent Tragedy” is an organization that helps people start over. This organization provides gently used clothing and other items such as bedding, hygiene supplies, and cleaning supplies to those in need.
Since May 2011, Caring Heart has assisted in aiding victims of over 30 house fires, 3 floods, and distributed clothing and other items to 7 towns in need. Most recently a tornado hit a town in Alabama and Caring Heart is committed to playing their part in aiding those victims by providing supplies that are most needed.
Currently Caring Heart is in need of cleaning supplies (bleach, Lysol, brooms, mops, buckets, latex gloves, and work gloves), hygiene supplies for adults and kids (toothbrushes, toothpaste, combs, brushes, razors, shaving cream, deodorant, soap, shampoo and conditioner) and baby items (diapers, formula, new bottles, baby wipes, and baby soap).
Donations can be dropped off during store hours 7 days a week from 9 am – 6 pm or during non-business hours by dropping the items off in a blue box in front of the store.
You can also make monetary donations via paypal at www.caringheartohio.weebly.com and click on the donation and new projects tab. All major credit cards are accepted.
What a great way for us as a community to join together in helping those, much like the owners of Comfortably Used, who are so committed to helping others.