This past year has been a whirlwind since the fire. I lost my childhood home and everything in it except a good portion of photographs and slides I was able to recover from the wreckage. I watched it burn in flames, get demolished, rebuilt, and sold to some other family looking to create their memories in the same spot I had most of mine throughout my life. Here is my first post about this.
I created this video not to make people sad but for myself. It was a way to deal with the loss. As most men internalize and don’t talk about their internal heartache, it was a way for me to let it out. I can tell you that there was not one day I was not emotional editing this footage together. It was tough and I had to take time away then come back to it many times to finish it.
I would like to give many thanks to those that helped us through this tremendously tough time.
1. The Medford and Evesham fire departments were incredible to put out the fire within an amazingly short about of time. It saved my entire collection of photographs from when I was growing up and my family’s history. There was a chest of albums where the edges of the albums melted together, but they put the fire out in time that I was able to cut them apart and recover the photos in them. (Thanks to William Knecht, the detective from the Medford Police Department. )
2. Rob Dovi, Jr.. I grew up with Rob from my neighborhood and went to elementary and High School together. He was a tremendous help recovering a few relevant documents for my parents and for helping me get through the rubble and making sure it was safe so I can look for my family heirlooms (photographs).
3. Mystery man from the fire department: With everything going down on that rainy day with police officers, fire engines and people everywhere watching the blaze, this one man’s calming demeanor was one of the single things and acts of kindness that stuck with me from this entire event. I did not get his name unfortunately but I will always remember him.
4. The neighbors: (Ralph, Margie, David, Maggie, Jeffrey, Pam, Mike, and many more.) The Support of the neighbors through this ordeal was incredible. Not only were my parents and I affected but they had smoke damage, home damage, and construction crews there for several months rebuilding and tearing down everything. They are all fantastic people with kind hearts that were outstanding and helpful.
5. Selective Insurance: I’ve dealt with insurance companies on things throughout my life that gave me a bit of a bad taste when I hear the word insurance, but this was different. From the adjuster Robert Thompson, doing the in-depth walkthrough to the quickness of their help and fantastic communication. Janet Steigel from ALE helped my parents find a temporary fully furnished rental place while the old house was under construction. Marianne Pose from Berkshire/Hathaway sold the house swiftly and for a high price to help my parents from any additional stress.
6. The builder: Charles Kojeski from Construction & Restoration in Voorhees, NJ. Everyone knows that builders and contractors are always typically late, hard to reach at times, well this builder was the opposite. The rebuild was faster than they quoted my parents. They were accommodating and responsive. The rebuild was incredible, and the amazing job they did helped my parents sell their home and set them up for the rest of their retirement.
7. Special thanks to The Find Lab for scanning almost 1700 old film slides that I recovered from the fire. They did an incredible job even with some that had fire and smoke damage on the negatives. I had never seen most of the photographs on these slides!
8. My parents and Family: I am an only child, so my family and parents all came together to comfort each other through this time. I appreciate and love them more than they will ever know. In the last scene in the video when we did the final walkthrough of the home I wanted to set up my camera on a mini tripod and have us all say something about the house or what happened. All the emotions from the past six months came to the forefront and could not get a word out.
9. There are many more individuals that helped my parents through this situation and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!