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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


~ a neighbor's home ~
Boy - size 6 pants and shirt, size 2 shoes and lost all his toys, he walked out barefoot
Adult female - 2X shirt, 38 pants, size 9.5 shoes
Adult female - medium shirt, 34 pants, size 8.5 shoes
Adult male - XL shirt, 30/32 pants, size 10.5 shoes
If you want my street address, send me a PM and thank you. The family is staying in a hotel while they look for a new home.
Regarding donations...if you want to send a check,make it out to my name so I can cash it and give it to the family. The money I've collected was going to be spent on clothing, household goods, etc. but I think they need the cash for rent and utilities in order to get started again. People are being so kind and donating furniture, clothing, etc. but they need rent money too. Hopefully, tomorrow I'll meet with the adult daughter and find out more information.

Last night,just before 5:00 I opened the back door for the dogs to go outside and, as usual, I always step onto the porch and sweep the valley...just in case. Last night, I noticed black smoke rolling from behind the nearest neighbor's house. That neighbor lives about 1/2 mile away and, at first, I thought he might be burning brush. But the smoke was black and brush smoke is white. I grabbed the telephone and called Daniel, our Fire Chief and left a message on  his voice mail. Understand now, the house wasn't on fire as in the above was simply black smoke pouring from the far side and difficult to see. I walked on down the driveway, binocs in one hand, phone in the other and my unrest rising quickly and considerably. I told Daniel's machine, "I might be crazy but I think Russell's house is on fire" and hung up quickly.
Then, I called another neighbor and as soon as he answered the phone I said, "Russell's house is on fire!" and hung up so I could call 911. I dialed 911, told them Russell's house was on fire and the woman knew, almost immediately, where the house was located. It took only one sentence to make it completely clear. I gave her my name and said, "not all our firefighter's have pagers, I have to make other calls!" then started calling other firefighters and leaving messages for them.
~ the thick of it ~
The water hoses are heavy and tend to fight and snarl; it takes two men to direct the spray of the heaviest hose. The Cove Volunteer Fire Department responded within fifteen minutes (perhaps less) which is pretty excellent when you consider we're all volunteers and most men were still at work somewhere in the pastures or on the mountains. 

When I arrived, I took photos from the road where I also assisted Morgan and Ashley with directing traffic. I let two cars go by before it dawned on me...DONATIONS! So, every vehicle that passed, I would flag them down and say, "the people and animals got out alive but they lost everything; please donate." Most people did and some folks, from a neighboring fire station, stayed to help. Eventually, Thompson Valley Volunteer Fire Department was called in and they brought two more trucks plus a pick-up outfitted with specialized gear.
Believe it or not, not all of the Cove firefighters have gear so I'm in process of writing a local grant, asking begging for money to buy gear for all our firefighters. Some of the men were even sharing gloves!
They fought the fire from around 5:15 until after 9:00 and were called out again at 10:30 and stayed until around 1:00. I had just collapsed onto my pillow when my telephone rang and Ashley said, "they just got called out again. Can you go and put another set of lights on the house?" So, I got the pick-up truck because it's higher off the ground and headed down the road. As it turns out, the fire was now, mostly, at the back of the house and I couldn't get into position to be of any help. 
This afternoon, around 3:00, it was still burning and firefighters were still dousing it with chemicals and water. It's now almost 8 p.m., more than twenty-four hours later and it still smolders! 
The family spent the night in a hotel last night and are re-grouping while people from all over the County are rallying to help with, clothing, furniture, etc. 
Not the greatest photo but do you see the wee face in the lower left right hand corner? I don't know her name but she's asleep at my feet and I'll keep her until the family is back on their feet. She's a sweet little thing and is holding her own with the pack already living at Thistle Cove Farm and that's saying a lot for her big heart!
HURRAH for the Cove Volunteer Fire Department, for the gentleman who stopped to donate money and stayed to help fight the fire, to the Thompson Valley Volunteer Fire Department, to folks who donated money, to folks who helped with traffic, gave water and everyone who held holding out...a helping hand. I have to tell you though, Hillary was wrong. It doesn't take a village, it takes a community and I live in the Very Best!

Tomorrow, I'll update the Cove Community blog and put up different photos. It's absolutely amazing what volunteers do and, for the most part, are totally unsung heroes. Please, include Russell's family and our grant application in your prayers; our CVFD NEEDS equipment!

P. S. Thank you all for your kind birthday wishes; it's one I'll never forget!

Blessings ~ CVFD ~ TVVFD ~ volunteers ~ folks with big hearts ~ Russell and family, they got out alive ~ 


  1. My prayers go out to the family.

  2. Oh my goodness! I'll pray for the family. You are amazing, Sandra. That little visitor is blessed to be with your pack and YOU!
    You DO have a sweet community!

  3. i would like to help out, what are the ages of the kids and clothing sizes? same for the parents? i may have something i can ship out. and is there a place to make a money donation? sorry for their loss. good luck with the grant.

  4. I want to help too . . . let me know if there is a place where I can send a donation. Thanks to you for being there to be a help mate . . .

  5. Your neighbors are lucky to have a friend like you. Your quick thinking and ability to adapt on the fly I'm sure is a godsend to them. Please do post any donation efforts. I'm sure there are many who would help.

  6. What a wonderful tribute to a close community. Our son-in-law is a firefighter, and I know that these brave men (and women) who do this are special individuals.

  7. very sad for them......

  8. My prayers are with the family in their loss. It's heartwarming to read about your community and the compassionate folks who live there. You and that sweet little one try to get some rest tonight.

  9. Oh how awful, I pray that they will be reimbursed soon and have a place to stay. You are a real angel and did everything you could, and things I would not even have thought of. We live in Augusta county, which is on fire, we can see and smell the smoke.

  10. What an absolutely amazing community you have and live in Sandra! If only we could all be so full of that much grace all the time. What a wonderful world it truly would be. If it's possible I could donate in my own small way somehow? But I suppose coming from Aust it would need to be via PayPal as I can't think of another way?
    Sorry I missed your birthday. All the best of belated wishes to you, xxx

  11. Hello Sandra:
    This is so, so dreadful. How our hearts ache for that family. To have lost everything in this way is too awful for words and we are so very sorry.

    We pray that working together as a community some kind of recovery to some sort of normality will be quickly effected for them. In the meantime, you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

  12. I'll be sending out a donation tomorrow to you. Hugs!

  13. Thank God all are OK. Sandra, you're a wonderful neighbor, such a giving soul. And oh, that little face...

  14. This is so sad. Good for you for calling the other firefighters who don't have pagers! Prayers are with the family!

  15. I am so glad that family is safe and all the firefighters. What a shock for the whole community.

    How did I miss your birthday? Happy Birthday, friend.

  16. This is the second house fire for me in one month. I'm in tears. Thier story is so tragic and heart-warming. Thank you for your help and your grant-writing. The firefighters ARE unsung.

    Prayers and blessings to your cove community.

  17. Sounds like you were a real blessing to them in a time of need!

    That's sad the firefighters don't have all the gear they need. I hope they can get that through a grant or something!

  18. Oh so sad about this terrible fire. Your help and that of the community is a blessing and shows the love and care you all have for each other. Prayers for all.

  19. Sandra...going to check and see what I have that I might be able to send. I should have a few things.


  20. So glad they're okay...

  21. Well you certainly went in to action there girl..along with your volunteer firefighters..good for you..what a difference your quick thinking, huge-hearted communication skills will have made for everyone. Sorry I'm behind the times...happy birthday week!.. memorable indeed. Prayers for you all..poor, poor family. x0x0

  22. O, Thistle, good angel!

  23. What an awful thing. But how wonderful that neighbors are pulling together.
    We lost a house in our old neighborhood two years ago and it was such a helpless feeling to watch it burn. thank the Lord for firefighters... Both paid and volunteer!
    Don't forget about the red cross for help They will help too.
    I hope they had insurance. If it was with a good company they should have all of their expenses taken care of while they are renting.

  24. How devastating -- I feel so for this family. My thoughts are with them. Bless your heart for being such a big help.

  25. i just need your address so i can send out what i have. thanks.


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