"Lauren's Luggage" gives to local fire victims

COLUMBIA, Md. (WMAR) - In the darkest moments, sometimes we shine.

It may take a lifetime for us to understand that lesson, but an Anne Arundel County girl gets it at just nine years old.
 
Lauren Hontz got a tour of fire station 7 in Columbia.  She's into teddy bears and never dreamed of trucks until her home went up in flames.  
 
"I lost basically everything," Lauren said.  "There were only a few things that were able to be saved," she said.  
 
Lauren made a few trips around the trucks as a thank you from the men and women in uniform.
 
Their gear, their gym, their bunkers.  Lauren has become like family at many fire stations in Maryland.
 
"It really was one of the worst days of our lives, to see all that, it's just tragic.  And to see the kids lose things that we'll never be able to replace," said Lauren's mom Jennifer Hontz.  
 
Lauren's parents and her three brothers found those basic items were most important when their lives were shifted to a hotel.

Lauren missed her blanket and stuffed animals.
 
So just one month after her own fire, she started stuffing bags with some essentials that firefighters can hand out to other fire victims.
 
Firefighters gave Lauren a one-hundred dollar gift card that will allow her to shop for more gift bags.  
 
"In the middle of the night to a small child having a stuffed animal or a blanket is a huge deal."  
 
It is from the ashes on Hill Born Drive in Hanover that a 9-year-old girl might teach us all one of life's greatest lessons.  
 
"It's like the kindness in your heart, you never lose that," Lauren said.  "You can lose every item you have but you never lose the kindness in your heart," she said.  
 
The family is now renting a home in Severn.  Lauren is using social media to spread the word about her mission.
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