Linda Paksec and her daughter Danielle were surprised last week by friend Lori Capozzi bringing some Christmas cheer and presents from the community. (Submitted)

Christmas came early for Penticton mother and daughter who lost their home to fire

This will be the Paksecs first holiday without the family’s patriarch

Penticton resident Lori Capozzi is determined to make it the best Christmas possible for Linda Paksec and her daughter Danielle who lost their family home and all their belongings in a house fire earlier this year.

Too add salt to their open wounds, Linda’s husband passed away from health issues unrelated to the fire six weeks after their home was destroyed.

“I wanted to provide her with a Christmas she has never had. And show her that people care and love her,” said Capozzi, who befriended Linda shortly after the fire. The two have since become close friends.

Capozzi recently took to Penticton’s locals helping locals Facebook page asking for donations of Christmas presents for Linda and her daughter who has special needs — and the community responded in a big way, donating everything on her wish list and more.

“Thank you to the lovely community of Penticton I was able to make this happen for this very special family that has been through so very much trauma in the past year, losing their home to the fire with no insurance and the loss off their father and husband six weeks after the fire.”

Lori is overwhelmed with the huge response she got from Pentictonites wanting to help.

“I cried a few times. There was so much love. I had posted a few times as I had a wish list that I created. And slowly and steadily donations came in to the point that I had everything and more on my list and people were still coming forward with gift cards,” she said.

Lori Capozzi knocks on Linda Paksec’s door to surprise her and her daughter with Christmas gifts donated from the community. (Submitted)

One of the big items on the wish list was an old style Nintendo system with games. Once again the community came through with that too, said Capozzi.

The console and games will be a present for Linda’s daughter from Santa. So that one is still a surprise, she said.

Last week, dressed in her best elf suit, Lori and another helper Rochelle Diaz delivered handfuls of Christmas presents to the very surprised mother and daughter.

“Linda cried and kept saying ‘no, no, no.’ Linda’s daughter kept saying thank you.”

It was March 28 when the Paksec’s Duncan Ave. home caught fire in the middle of the day. Smoke billowed out from the basement windows with the Paksec family trapped inside.

Two bystanders bravely jumped into the fire and smoke, rescuing the family. By that time, Linda’s daughter had inhaled a lot of smoke. Firefighters and paramedics had to revive her several times at the scene. Luckily, she is doing fine now, said Capozzi.

The fire left the family desperate for housing. Linda’s daughter had to live in supportive housing while Linda rented a hotel room and worked graveyard shifts at McDonald’s to pay the rent.

That’s where Capozzi, a 50-year-old self-described ‘good Samaritan,’ and Rochelle Diaz, a 22-year-old Okanagan College student came together as strangers determined to help the Paksecs.

READ MORE: Strangers unite to help fire victims

Capozzi helped Linda find a new apartment and set up a GoFundMe page to help out.

Paksec and her family had no fire insurance and Linda had nothing to do with paying bills. The house was inherited by Paksec’s husband through his parents, and is in his name, further complicating the situation. Finding a way through the legalities of that continues to be a challenge for Linda and one she still needs help with, said Capozzi.

The home is boarded up and inhabitable.

With help from Capozzi, the mother and daughter are settled into their apartment they now call home.

“Linda is a very private person but she would want to thank everyone for their kindness,” said Capozzi.

And thanks to the generosity and care of this community, this Christmas will be the best it can be for the Paksecs, she said.

Linda Paksec (far left) and her daughter Danielle (middle) share a laugh after being surprised with Christmas gifts galore from the community delivered by friends Lori Capozzi (jean jacket) and Rochelle Diaz (holding dog). (Submitted)

To report a typo, email:



Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Letter writer says COVID has created lots of newbie cyclists who don't know rules of cycling. (File photo)
LETTER: Newbie cyclists in Penticton need lessons on rules of the road

Penticton cycling group just received city funding, should give back by offering how-to lessons

No dental coverage for low income Canadians. (File photo)
OPINION: Penticton MP’s proposal for universal dental coverage rejected

One in 3 Canadians have no dental coverage, with COVID making it even worse

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Sandra Krauer, Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki and Barb Hoolaeff were in Skaha Park to announce the return of Ribfest for September, 2021. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Ribfest returns to Penticton

Festival runs from Sept. 17 - 19 at Skaha Lake Park with proceeds going to new splash park

Fiery crash on the Okanagan Connector between two semis. (Facebook)
One dead after fiery Okanagan Connector crash between two semis

DriveBC estimates road won’t be open until 5 p.m.

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

More flames
Lake Country home destroyed in massive blaze

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

A boat sharing service is extending to Summerland. The company, Penticton Boat Club and Rentals, is also taking over the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort. (Photo by Chris Stenberg)
Boat sharing service extended from Penticton to Summerland

Company will also operate boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A heart of ribbons is seen on the fence of Highroad Academy along Chilliwack Central Road on Friday, June 4, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Orange Heart Memorial campaign launches in Vernon on National Indigenous Peoples Day

North Okanagan Friendship Center raising funds for bench, mural memorializing 215 discovered in Kamloops

Most Read