GUILFORD -- Though his home of nearly two decades has been badly damaged by fire, Roger Jobin is thankful.
He's thankful that his family, including five children living at home, is safe. And he is thankful for friends and neighbors who are pitching in to help the family recover -- including the establishment of a fund for donations at River Valley Credit Union.
"We are extremely grateful and overwhelmed with the community support," Jobin said. "We are so grateful to live in a community where, if something like this happens, everyone comes together."
He spoke six days after an apparent chimney fire spread into the Jobins' home on Sweet Pond Road. Several members of the family who were home at the time escaped safely along with their pets.
The future of their home is unclear.
"That has yet to be completely determined," Jobin said Thursday. "If you drive by on the road, it looks like there's nothing at all wrong. But half the house is gutted, and the other half has severe smoke and water damage."
Jobin termed the response by firefighters from Guilford and other nearby towns "amazing," but he noted that crews were able to salvage "very little" from the house.
A fund has been created to benefit the family, Guilford Central School officials announced Thursday. Donations should be marked "Jobin Family Fund" and can be sent to River Valley Credit Union, 820 Putney Road, Brattleboro Vt. 05301.
Though their home is uninhabitable, the Jobins have been able to stay on their property.
"A friend of my son's donated a 33-foot travel trailer that sleeps eight. We've been staying in that," Jobin said, noting that the camper showed up in his yard Saturday afternoon.
It appears that even better living quarters are on the way.
"The insurance company is going to set us up with a full-sized mobile home," Jobin said. "That should be coming sometime next week."
There is no question that the family is "devastated," Jobin said. And that goes beyond damage to home and possessions; Jobin said a daughter has been experiencing nightmares since the blaze.
But he repeatedly returned to feelings of gratitude for community assistance that continues to pour in.
"If it was not for the support that we received, I don't know where we would be right now," Jobin said.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.