Monson family lighting up their community with fire starters - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Monson family lighting up their community with fire starters

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One Monson family is using the destruction from last year's tornado and October snowstorm to light up their community.

The Wilsons are one of the many families who in some way were affected by each of those storms.

Now they have built their own company from the ground up with their tornado fire starters.

They've been making these as a family since November and through it have been helping heal their community.

A year ago, the Wilsons were still wondering how they could help turn their town around after a series of disasters.

"I could see branches flying parallel to the ground... and about 10 seconds later it just stopped," said Amy Wilson.

When the dust settled, amidst all of the destruction, the Wilsons were some of the fortunate ones.

None of their property was damaged.

"We were very very lucky," Wilson said.

But besides being grateful, the Wilsons felt something else.

"We were really guilty about that because so many people were so effected," Wilson said.

In the days that followed, Seth and Amy Wilson and their kids, Jack and Isabelle, would often grab water bottles and work gloves and head out on foot to help clear brush and dead trees.

"We were all just kind of looking around trying to figure out some way to do something positive with all this destruction," said Seth Wilson.

In November, after the October snowstorm, they started putting two and two together.

Seth Wilson had been making fire starters for his dad for years.

Why not make, as the Wilsons put it, "something good from twisted wood."

That became the slogan for what is now their business venture.

"That's one of the really rewarding things is creating something that resonates with people immediately," said Seth Wilson.

Since then, Jack, 11, and Isabelle, 8, have been helping the family assemble these little cups.

They're made from wax and dead trees left by the tornado, turning what was once an eyesore into something positive.

"It was a good experience, everyone was mostly focusing on the good," Jack Wilson said.

Now this family is using some of the money made to replant trees in neighbor's yards - free of charge. 

It's a disaster, turned business, turned lifelong lesson.

"We're all really fortunate and in the scheme of things, there's no place I'd rather be," Seth Wilson said.

Now their fire starters are being used in dozens of campgrounds across the Northeast and even as far away as New Mexico and Hawaii.

They also have a booth at the Big E in the Massachusetts building.

You can read their story on the back of their packaging that says "We hope our starters build fires that gather your family and friends like the storms united our community."

Copyright 2012 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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