Family Tragedy Becomes a Fun Family Tradition

My father retired from the Army in 1987, so my family moved from Germany to Alabama.  We bought a house in East Limestone and after living there only one week the house caught on fire.  It also happened to be on Halloween.

The roof collapsed and the house sustained major water damage in several areas.  We spent the next three months in a rental home, while our house was being rebuilt.

Every Halloween, we would talk about the fire of ’87.  We would reminisce about the amount of damage done by the fire, about how lucky we were that nobody was hurt, and about how so many people helped us during our time of need.

Over the years, the emotional sting diminished and we started to do fun things to commemorate the day.  Sometimes, we go out to eat at Firehouse Subs or Smokey’s BBQ.  Sometimes, we roast marshmallows.

That’s how a family tragedy became a fun family tradition.

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Fire of ’87 – Thirty Year Anniversary

In 1987, on Halloween Day, our house caught on fire.  I was 14 when this happened.  It’s one of those events that you remember for the rest of your life.

Every year I do something to commemorate the Fire of ’87.  In the past, I wrote about what caused the fire, the destruction caused by the fire, and my feelings at the time of the fire.  However, this year I want to write about something different.  I want to write about the volunteer fire department that did the best they could to save as much of the house as possible.

At the time, we lived in East Limestone, Alabama.  East Limestone is an unincorporated community, which means there is no city fire department.

Community fire department, like the one in East Limestone, is staffed by volunteers.  The fire department also relies on donations or fund raisers to purchase all needed equipment and to train the volunteers.

The fire fighters that came to our house that day, had jobs and family responsibilities.   They had busy schedules just like everyone else.  However, they willing gave of their time and risked their lives to help us.

This year I want to say thank you to all the volunteer fire fighters that work diligently to save lives and protect their communities.

The Last Time I Saw You Alive

My brother died three years ago today.  I keep thinking about the last time I saw him alive.  We spent the day eating pizza and playing air hockey.

Three years ago, I lost my brother, Gwen lost her father, and Mom lost her son.  Our family was shaken to the core and the struggle to overcome this loss still continues.

Aaron Thaler – We miss you more than words can say.