On the night of Dec. 9, 2009, my home burned to the ground and I lost everything I ever owned in my life. God held me in His hands that night while a bright light circled my therapy dog (Molly) and me. God does exist. I wanted to die but realized God was in control. It was His will and provisions of strength and endurance for me to survive this near death experience.
Heroes come in many shapes and forms. To me a hero is someone who attempts to help someone or something get out of harms way. There were many heroes the night of the fire.
First, I would like to thank Denny Balliet, my next door neighbor, who pulled me across the front lawn and placed me in a snow bank because I was on fire. Second, Paulette Haupt, another neighbor, for putting snow on my entire back and her friend Lisa for taking care of Molly. The Hiller family, who live two doors away, for providing blankets for me to lay down on while waiting for the ambulance. Lee Marzen, a Jim Thorpe police officer who arrived on the scend and covered me with his jacket while it was cold and snowing and stayed until the paramedic arrived.
I would also like to thank the Jim Thorpe and Nesquehoning Fire Departments for attempting to save a very old home (built in 1888). All of the above are true heroes to me.
At the Lehigh Valley Burn Center, I was placed in a coma for approximately three months and received excellent intensive care by the team in the burn unit. Being that I would not be released from the burn unit until I could breathe, swallow and eat on my own once I woke up. From this point on God put his angels right where I needed them.
Thanks to all those who sent flowers, goody baskets, cards and most of all their prayers. There were several Masses said for me throughout the United States, including Los Angeles, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Little Rock, Arkansas; Long Island, New York and St. Johns Monastery, Toronto, Canada. And thank you to the several different denominations who had me on their prayer lists.
Angels are messengers sent by God. I get a message everyday from at least one angel, a physical therapist, a phone call or a visit from someone. Angels such as Fran Flickinger and Rita Washick who held a Welcome Home shower for me; as well as my brothers and sisters of Eastern Star who also held a shower for me at their November meeting.
A special thanks for the monetary gifts from the St. Johns Lutheran Church in the Heights in Jim Thorpe, and the Lehighton Jukebox Cruisers. A note of thanks to the staff and residents of the Hometown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
Last, but not least, a great big thank you to Norm Sterling for keeping your patience while helping to put together a modular home on the original property. Thank you for being here to help me to be all that I can be.
Now that I'm home recuperating with physical therapy due to burned muscles, I thank God daily for his angels and heroes.
I'm planning to write a book about my experience and my relationship with God. If there is anyone willing to help me get my book typed or published, please contact me.
306 South Ave.
Jim Thorpe, PA 18229