Molly’s own­ers, pa­trons rally to sup­port cou­ple

Kent County News - - NEWS - By TR­ISH MCGEE pm­cgee@thekent­coun­tynews.com

KENNEDYVILLE — Karl and Janet Pritt are learn­ing that the kind­ness of strangers is more than a cliché.

Pa­trons of Molly’s Place and the own­ers of the sport­ing goods-con­ve­nience store-restau­rant com­plex near Kennedyville are pitch­ing in to help the Golts area cou­ple who lost ev­ery­thing but the clothes they were wear­ing in a Sept. 2 house fire.

Prakash “Chikki” Sha­jwani, Nitin “Nick” Sha­jwani and Lori Ma­son Loller each are match­ing the $500 in do­na­tions col­lected in gal­lon jars at their con­ve­nience store. This is on top of cloth­ing from their sport­ing goods store — in­clud­ing jack­ets, sweat­shirts, boots and shoes — that was gifted.

On Satur­day, the Pritts went to Molly’s to thank their bene­fa­ca­tors in per­son. Karl, 87, was wear­ing a pur­ple T-shirt with the sport­ing goods store’s in­signia on the back.

“I’d like to thank them ever so much. We are so grate­ful for the out­pour­ing of love and help we have re­ceived,” said Janet, 79. “They are fine peo­ple,” she added.

Janet said what stuck with her the most was that Molly’s pro­pri­etors were so gen­er­ous even though they had never met her or her hus­band.

“Rein­vest­ing in the com­mu­nity,” Chikki Sha­jwani said when asked why he was help­ing the Pritts.

He an­swered the ques­tion with a ques­tion: “What’s the sense of hav­ing some­thing and not giv­ing back?”

“We’re just do­ing our part,” Nick Sha­jwani added.

The Sha­jwani brothers said they had been for­tu­nate in both their per­sonal and pro­fes­sional lives and wanted to “pay it for­ward.”

David Sproates, who spent so much time at the Pritts’ home on Lees Chapel Road when he was grow­ing up that he con­sid­ered him­self part of their fam­ily, ap­proached Molly’s own­ers about a week after the fire and asked to put out jars for do­na­tions.

He chose Molly’s at the cross­roads of state routes 213 and 298 be­cause it is a bustling place and be­cause of the own­ers’ rep­u­ta­tions for “tak­ing care of the com­mu­nity.”

Sproates said he was given the green light “to go for it.”

“I couldn’t sit back and do noth­ing after they had lost ev­ery­thing,” he said of the cou­ple whom he calls “mom” and “pop.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tors with the Of­fice of the Mary­land State Fire Mar­shal de­ter­mined that the fire orig­i­nated on the front porch. Karl Pritt said a cit­ronella can­dle he lit to keep away mos­qui­toes was to blame.

He dis­cov­ered the fire shortly be­fore 9 o’clock on Sun­day night, Sept. 2.

“I looked out the win­dow and seen the flames com­ing up the front door. When it hit the vinyl sid­ing, it went up fast,” he said.

The Pritts es­caped out the back door. Janet re­mem­bered that she didn’t even stop to put on shoes.

The house that the Pritts had lived in for 45 years was de­stroyed and so was ev­ery­thing in it, in­clud­ing Karl’s trea­sured col­lec­tion of evan­ge­list Oliver Greene record­ings and enough fab­ric and no­tions to fill Janet’s two sewing rooms.

Also de­stroyed was a Cadil­lac parked near the house. “It was so hot that I couldn’t get close,” Karl said.

He man­aged to “save” a 2006 pickup, though the truck’s paint melted.

“This is what I sal­vaged out of the fire, the most im­por­tant thing,” Janet said, look­ing at Karl and pat­ting his arm.

They will cel­e­brate their 63rd wed­ding an­niver­sary next week.

The Pritts, whose prop­erty is ad­ja­cent to the north­east cor­ner of Milling­ton Wildlife Man­age­ment Area, said they have not de­cided if they will re­build. Tem­po­rar­ily they are liv­ing with a daugh­ter near Chestertown.

PHOTO BY TR­ISH MCGEE

Janet and Karl Pritt, whose house was de­stroyed by fire Sept. 2, meet the own­ers of Molly’s Place on Satur­day to thank them for do­na­tions of cash and cloth­ing. From left are Brenda Sproates, David Sproates, busi­ness owner Nitin “Nick” Sha­jwani, Janet Pritt, Karl Pritt, Carol Pritt Plet­zer and busi­ness owner Prakash “Chikki” Sha­jwani. Not pic­tured is busi­ness owner Lori Ma­son Loller.

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