Personal tragedies at a time reserved for home and hearth are always more difficult to accept, but that's the fate of Westford's Daily family, whose Beaver Brook Road residence was razed by a raging three-alarm fire on Friday.

Fortunately, no one was home at the time, but all of the family's belongings were reportedly lost in the accidental blaze.

As Westford fire Lt. Shawn Girard said at the time, the Dailys had only the clothes on their backs. With Christmas just a few days away, the family had no home, no possessions, and to make things worse, no presents to share on Christmas Day.

However, Jason and Connie Daily, their 17-year-old son and 9- and 12-year-old daughters, probably didn't realize what a compassionate community they live in.

With soot still engulfing their gear, firefighters already had decided to ease the family's distress. They posted a plea on the Fire Department's Facebook page in hopes of soliciting aid for the Dailys, which according to Girard, others in town had already inquired about.

A day later, that post had been shared 425 times. By now, we're sure it's many hundreds more.

Thanks to the Red Cross, the family has a roof over their heads, and according to a neighbor, Toys for Tots has offered to donate presents for the children.

The firefighters also have established a fund to benefit the family at Northern Bank and Trust, 45 Main St. Anyone wishing to contribute should make out a check payable to "the Daily Family." They're also accepting donations of clothing and gift cards, which can be dropped off at the town's fire stations.

These charitable acts obviously can't bring back their home, but the Dailys -- much like a certain George Bailey -- through this outpouring of goodwill have experienced the true meaning of Christmas.

Westford firefighters continue to gather relief donations for the Daily family, which was burned out of their home on Friday. Here, homeowner Jason Daily,
Westford firefighters continue to gather relief donations for the Daily family, which was burned out of their home on Friday. Here, homeowner Jason Daily, far right, stands with some of the firefighters who battled the fire, including from left, Ryan Monat, Zach Driscoll, Mark Witherell, Jeff Douphinette, David Christiana, Bill Cashman and Lt. Paul Lemieux. T (SUN/ DAVID H. BROW )

We salute the Westford Fire Department, the Westford community and everyone else who has stepped up to help this family in their time of need.

The Beyoncé bounce

Anyone perusing Twitter on Friday night probably believed they were experiencing the mother of all hoaxes when they saw photos purportedly of pop queen Beyoncé schmoozing with Walmart shoppers in Tewksbury.

Well, as we all know now, it was the real deal.

The Grammy-award winning superstar did make a surprise appearance before her concert at TD Garden in Boston to purchase her new album, available in stores that day.

Beyoncé is as shrewd a businesswoman as she is a performer. She stunned the entertainment world by releasing her new album exclusively on iTunes. As of a week ago, 828,773 copies had been sold.

She also demonstrated her public-relations prowess by handing out 750 $50 gift cards to the starstruck Walmart crowd.

Collectively, The Sun's stories on her visit drew more than 10,000 online hits, while the accompanying video has generated close to 300,000 views.

Besides going viral, it's been picked up by virtually every major media outlet.

That's the kind of publicity even Beyoncé's money can't buy.