For decades, Edna and Bob Touchette provided foster children who had nowhere else to return home. Now it’s home away.
“This was the center of everyone’s world,” Edna said as she stood next to the smoldering pile of the garrison her husband was building. The couple adopted to date eight foster children while having four children of their own.
Monday morning, the fire broke through the two floors, so they relied on friends and family to get shelter. Thanksgiving is still an unknown. ONE GoFundMe account has raised $ 130,000 to a goal of $ 250,000 to help the family rebuild.
But on Tuesday, they stood outside shaking as they tried to understand the loss.
“There were so many people pushing papers after us for assessments that we just shut down,” Bob said of the amount of activity after the spectacular fire. “We have lost everything. It still has not sunk in yet.”
Bob said he picked up his 2-year-old and 4-year-old and ran out of the house as the smoke billowed out of the chimney. He lifted a ladder up to his 18-year-old who had crawled out of the roof to help him down.
He said the screen doors then “blew out” while the flames roared. The fire never escaped until the house was no longer a home. The fire department poured it on, but it was too late.
Everyone escaped, including the Labradoodle family, Buddy, who was found on a nearby bike path.
“We’re all coming to one place this Thanksgiving. Or at least try,” said Edna, 74, with tears in her eyes. “We’ve lived here for 46 years. Rebuild? Probably.”
“I will not do it myself this time,” added Bob, 78.
Their son Anthony, 17, said he is still in shock, but in high school he gets a lot of hugs. “I’ve never had so many hugs before. Everyone is really supportive. “He also shook with his jackets lost by the flames.
Someone from the state Department of Children and Families called Edna to say they will do everything they can to help.
This family, a DCF spokesman later told the Herald, is among the quiet heroes who receive children when most adults are too busy moving on with their lives.
“Foster parents are the backbone of our agency,” said DCF’s Andrea Grossman. “We can not do our job without them.”
Now this humble couple trusts the goodwill of others. “Someone has donated an entire Thanksgiving dinner,” Edna said.
She paused and looked at her home, wiping another tear away. It just will not be the same, she added, and not having everyone to a place right on the main road built on a lot of love.
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