Slowly but surely, the Franz family is getting back to the old swing of things.
Their home was destroyed last April by an accidental electrical fire -- a fire that claimed the lives of two of the family’s cats. Two weeks ago, they were finally able to move home after nine months.
Kathy Franz says she, her husband and two children have been slowly moving boxes back from her childhood home in Towson, where the family stayed for nine months while their home was rebuilt.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time,” Franz said. We were so blessed that we had my mom and dad’s house.”
The home was two weeks away from going on the market, following Kathy’s mother’s passing in February.
“It was two weeks away from not being about to be used,” Franz said. “It was a Godsend that we had it.
“I see so many people have it so much worse than we did because they don’t have a place to go,” she continued. “The kids took to it like ducks to water. They settled in very quickly. We got a routine together. We continued to come back to the house to piece things together.”
But a roof over their heads wasn’t the only thing Franz was grateful for. It was the graciousness of her neighbors in the Pine Valley - Valleywood community who donated money, clothing, gift cards and time to a family in need.
Franz says a stronger community was born out of the tragedy.
“You have no idea,” she said. “I tell people I’d never wish them to lose their home and all its contents ... however, I wish that everyone could experience the kind of community and overall support. Overwhelming is not the word for it—and it was constant.”
In the days immediately following the fire, neighbors helped collect donations for the family. The months the followed, different homes watched Franz’s kids so they could play with their friends.
In December, Franz posted the following message on the community’ Facebook page:
To Our Pine Valley Family, We hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday. We are almost back and hope to be in the house around mid January.
SO MANY people to thank for their generosity, kindness and love. Special thanks to The Pohlhaus family for watching over us (in so many ways!). Our neighbors Darlene and Justin for use of their house and their friendship. Andrea Bonaventura for collecting clothing, gift cards and just being a great friend.
Mary Zorbach for the meals she made us and keeping us in the loop! Karen Varelli for collecting donations from our church. Mary Neil Gathagan for rallying our NDP classmates with cards and donations.
The Parlar Family for the sleepovers for Maggie.If I have forgotten you please know that we appreciate everything that our neighbors have done for us this year. We live in a truly special community and I hope someday and someway to repay all of you for what you have given our family!! Have a safe and blessed Christmas. The Franz Family has so much to be thankful for and we can't wait to come home!!
AND of course thank you to Pinewood Elementary! Teachers, parents and especially the children lead by Alex Johnson who donated their money to help our family!!
Franz also thanked Chris Owen, a solicitor who first noticed the house was on fire and the man credited for getting her two children out of the house.
“I had thanked him several times afterwards," Franz said. "For some reason, he was put at our front door and I will be forever grateful to him for his involvement in calling the fire department and making sure the kids were out of the house.”
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