It’s time again for our favorite story to tell: a family returning home! This week we welcomed home the Duvals who have spent the last three winters in a fifth wheel trailer. All that time in a close space leads to a lot of family togetherness.

Mike, Carolyn and their two young daughters, Crystal and Cassidy celebrated their completed Hope City home by looking back at some of the difficult times since the Valley Fire. Carolyn cried and hugged her friend and she told about staying at their home for a week after the fire destroyed her own home. On the day of the fire, Mike was working in Kelseyville when he saw the plume of smoke on Cobb. He left work, reached a police roadblock. The officer said he wasn’t allowed to go past. Mike said, “My wife and kids are up there and I’m going.” No one will come to rescue you, was the officer’s parting words. Mike reached the house, loaded up his wife and kids and the dogs and then drove through the flames to get back down the mountain.
The rebuilding project for the family was led by the Wild Bunch. Keith Cordiss, Jim Clifton and Ron Priest. They are all local contractors who work and build all week and then spend their Sabbath doing good by rebuilding for fire survivors, as they are devout Seventh Day Adventists.

Cassidy was kind enough to show us around her new home. She showed off her parents’ room and proudly exclaimed, “That’s real fox skin!” Then we were off to her and her sister’s room with a bed that was, “Personally made this morning.” She was shy, but very excited to be home.

Carolyn said she is enjoying cooking in her new kitchen as she prepared appetizers and snacks for the Home Dedication. Some of the happiest moments come from the simplest actions. After so long without a real kitchen, having the space and appliances to be able to host others feels like a beautiful gift.

At every home dedication, Hope City presents the family with a cross, a Hope wall hanging and a quilt. The crosses are hand made by Bill Johnson, Hope City’s Construction Manager. Middletown Bible Church provides a Bible as a blessing over the new home. The home dedications are a testament to all of our volunteers. We celebrate the hard work and perseverance of every single person who passed through Hope City to work on these homes.

In September, we celebrated a double home dedication for two other families, as well. As more and more of these homes are completed, you can look forward to hearing more stories of fire survivors returning home.