Letter to the Editor

Sincerest and heartfelt thanks given to those who helped after fire

Sunday, February 8, 2015

To the editor:

My sincerest and heartfelt thanks you to all!

I doubt that too many people ever hear someone say, "Thank God, and I feel so blessed" the day their home or the home of a loved one, is totally consumed by fire, and the clothes on their backs are pretty much the only earthly items they have left. But, those were my first thoughts, and the words out of my mouth Jan.16, when fire took the home of my boyfriend, Marlon Mathews located on Magnolia Street in Brazil.

When Marlon returned home from running an errand uptown, the house was totally engulfed in smoke and flames. The first thing he did was try to get into the house to save "the boys" (Max, a black lab rescued from CCHS and Hercules a senior pit bull also adopted from CCHS years ago) He made his way into the house but the heat and smoke were too overwhelming and he had to find an exit at the nearest window he could get too. He called the fire department, just sure, that all they would find was the lifeless bodies of our four-legged family members.

The fire department arrived at the home and immediately risked their own safety and lives to try to find Max and Herc or at least, retrieve their bodies. The unfair and unfounded stigma and labels attached to a pit bull dog made me feel even more blessed when these wonderful men didn't even show any reserves about entering the house to try to rescue them. That act alone touched my heart deeply.

They found both boys in the back bedroom, Max the lab, was in pretty bad shape and his body was limp, Hercules, the pit bull, was chewing on the wall trying to make a way out of the house to save them. One firefighter scooped up Max and one got Hercules and walked him out of the house. Although it hurts my heart and brings tears to my eyes to think back to that day and what they went through, I find that I have to stop each time I think about it and again say thank you to our Lord for that miracle and for the blessing of those brave heroes, the Brazil Fire Department, for without them, Max and Hercules would not still be with us. Not only did they save our beloved pets but they saved Marlon's cherished Harley Davidson motorcycles as well. Amazing!

How can one repay another for such a gift? I don't believe you truly can, but I certainly want the members of this community to know how blessed and fortunate they are to have those amazing men on the Brazil Fire Department to protect and serve them should they ever need them. Those are the unsung heroes in our lives and the ones who can change a disaster from a tragedy to a blessing. No matter how odd that sounds.

The blessings didn't stop there. Marlon, unfortunately, has been unemployed and looking for work the past year and a half. Immediately, friends and neighbors came to his aid donating clothes and necessities and the Red Cross was there within minutes to give him some money to help provide some food and lodging. My friends at Four Loving Paws cleared time so we could get the boys over so "Doc" Shepherd could evaluate them and treat them.

Marlon was OK, the dogs survived even though they shouldn't have, the heroes of the Brazil Fire Department, caring and unselfish neighbors, the Red Cross helping pick up the pieces, the love and compassion of your friend "Doc" Shepherd and the team at Four Loving Paws, just so many reasons to be thankful. How many more gifts can one be given before, they too, have to stop and say, "Thank God, I feel so BLESSED"

Thank you all!

Darlene Hayes and Marlon Mathews