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Monday, December 17, 2007

In the Chirstmas Spirit

In the Spirit of Chirstmas our 4-H group: The Great Goats, have decided to forgo their Secret Santa exchange and instead donate the dollars they would have spent on each other, to a needy family in Kentucky. They have raised $87 that we will send in the form of a gift card to the family. Many of these kids gave of their own money that they earned by cleaning barns and doing extra chores! Way to go Great Goats!

Here is the family's story as told by the Mom.

"As many of you have heard, my family and I have experienced a terrible fire. It happened at approximately 7:15 pm. At the time Mike and I and our 3 yr old twins Faith and Hope had just left the farm and were on our way to go get a box springs and mattress for them (the twins) as we were re-doing a room for the girls upstairs. The older children, Garrett aged 14, Dylan 13, Shanna 9, and Chase 7, had decided they wanted to stay to home feed, milk as we had just finished up chores and then play some basketball as the weather was so pretty. We were only to be gone 45 minutes or so.

Mike and I and the girls had been gone from home exactly 10 minutes when my cell phone rang. It was Garrett, he said " The house is on fire, we have called 9-1-1 and you have to come home!". He then hung up and I could not get him back on the line. That was the scariest few minutes of my life. I immediately relayed this to Mike and he did a U-turn and headed home as fast as he dared, I called our next door neighbor Dan Schweighert and told him as fast as I could speak that our house was on fire, my kids were home and to get over there and not to let them back in there for anything!!! I was to find out that they were safely watching from across the road with our other neighbor Sarah Fryman and that the Firemen were already heading that way. We made it home in under 7 minutes. In that amount of time the entire front of our home which was our bedroom, living room, Shanna's bedroom and what was to be the girl's room as well as 2 hallways were engulfed in flames and gone. A total of 17 minutes....we had been in those rooms and changing clothes 17 minutes earlier. Sarah Fryman was across the road on her front porch and saw the smoke and walked down her drive way which is about the length of a city block to make sure no one was in the house and the windows blew out, that hot and that quick. The kids were alerted from our goat barn when the dogs started barking and they went to see what it was and saw smoke then called 9-1-1. Yes, we have smart kids, good and responsible kids.

Great neighbors--- I have learned how great in these days following this fire. The house burned from 7:15 until 12:30 that night, the fire departments from our county and 3 others were called. A total of 27,000 gallons of water was put on it at that time. The shell and some of the outside walls were standing that night but all contents were lost. The remainder started to burn again and the fire department was out again at 2:50 am and then 3 more times before our insurance adjuster could make it out on Friday morning. All was lost, nothing was salvaged. We thank God each and every day that this did not happen at night, no one thinks that we could have all made it out of the house. The only causality was our house dog TarTar, our 2 1/2 yr old Chihuahua. That has been a hard loss to take as well, she slept with Dylan and was Faith's best playmate next to Hope. The cause of the fire was determined to be faulty wiring, and a wall fire was what had occurred. A very fast and furious thing to behold.

We were literally left with just the clothes on our back, some of the kids didn't even have much of that. Shanna was doing chores in a pair of shorts and a tee shirt, no shoes no socks. A neighbor I had never met went and got a pair of shoes and socks and put them on her while we were watching our house burn. The boys had on barn jeans and shirts, Chase---one of the rattiest pairs you would hope to see and rubber boots that the Anatolian pup had chewed the top off of. Suddenly that is all he owned in the world.

We are currently living in a 24 x 30 building that is located 20 foot behind our goat barn. To put that in perspective it is the size of a two car garage. This building was originally built by the owner of the farm we bought it from as a small church. It was one big room with a half bath---sink and toilet. The building is finished, concrete floor but ceiling and walls are stucco. It does have heat and air. Though it is very, very small we are lucky to have it. A couple of days after the fire, our neighbor Kevin Stears (Sarah's husband) who is a contractor, came in and boxed in a shower for us. God bless him!! I don't know how I would have got 6 kids to school without a shower!! He said it wasn't pretty, but to me it was beautiful, partical board and all. For a while all 8 of us were in here and it was wall to wall people, clothes totes, and furniture. Another neighbor has loaned us an RV for the boys to sleep in so that helps out some too. We have now put our clothes in a storage building outside, like a big walkout closet if you will, not very handy---especially as it is getting colder and wetter--- but definitely better than nothing! We do know that we were very underinsured. The estimates to rebuild what we had, a 2000 square ft two story farm house are $40-$60K more than our policy limits. We will also easily go overly our limits on contents. You don't think you own much until you go to replace things and they are so expensive. We know we will not be rebuilding a two story house, that is out of the question and the amount of square footage will be what we can afford with the insurance money we get.

Yet as bad as this was, it could have been so much worse. Our babies are safe, all 6 of them from 14yrs-3yrs, it has been hard, continues to be but I have always heard that we are given no more than we can handle, though sometimes I know we wonder. Nothing that we lost in that house can't be replaced in one way or the other. Some things are extremely hard to lose and we all shall miss them, but we could never replace each other. "

If you too would like to donate, WalMart cards or direct donations can be made to:

April and Mike Hitch
1561 Bridgeville Rd.
Germantown, KY 41044
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