Life as a single mom can be tough.
But when you've got 10 kids - one of whom is in a coma - and no home to go to, single-parenthood is brutal.Nonetheless, Rondee Vesterfelt doesn't want sympathy. She hasn't asked for the help, even though she's been overwhelmed with offers of assistance from people who've come by with money and offered to donate furniture and clothing.
"But she's suggesting that they find someone more needy. That's just the way her mind works," said Sharron Collier, Vesterfelt's neighbor.
Twelve years ago, Vesterfelt's 3-year-old son Ian was critically injured in a freak accident. In a coma, he lives in a nursing home.
Last year Vesterfelt's husband died of cancer.
On Monday, her home caught fire and suffered $55,000 in damage. Vesterfelt has insurance on her home, but it will be about two months before it is repaired. Until then, Vesterfelt and her children - ranging from 19 months to 19 years - are living with various neighbors.
"All the neighbors have been so willing to take in these kids," said Collier. "We just want to do whatever we can until they are able to get back into their house and back on their feet."
Neighbors say they are amazed at how Vesterfelt handles adversity. They say she is always optimistic and looks at the positive side of everything.
"When she learned about the fire, the first thing she said was, `Oh well, it could have been worse,' " Collier said.
For the past three years Vesterfelt has been studying at Utah Valley Community College to become a nurse - she is taking finals this week and will begin interviewing for jobs next week. Collier said Vesterfelt is anxious to begin her career and start supporting her family.
"She's a very strong person and very independent," Collier said, adding that Vesterfelt is overwhelmed by the response from the community.
However, Collier said Vesterfelt has not been able to afford certain medical needs for her children since her husband's death. To help pay for some of those needs, a trust fund has been set up at the Provo First Security Bank office.
For more information, contact Jeannie Bott at First Security Bank.