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In the early morning of Sept. 5, 2013, our lives were changed forever. We lost our home to a massive house fire.
Thankfully Joe, and I, and our dogs, Whistle and Sassy, got out safely.
Joe and I want to take this opportunity to offer a heart-felt thank you to the first responders who came to our home that day.
To Lancaster County EMS, city firefighters and Lancaster Police Department officers, we cannot thank you enough for your heroic efforts to keep us safe.
The image of a police officer carrying our dog, Whistle, across the street to safety will always be with us.
Every firefighter we came in contact with apologized that they couldn’t save our home. They were in constant attendance to our needs and were so genuinely sorry for our loss.
These men and women were not only skillful and effective public safety officers, but a blessing in a time of need. They were friendly and caring faces with shoulders to lean on.
To city adminstrator Helen Sowell, Mayor Joe Shaw, fire chief Chuck Small, police chief Harlean Howard and EMS director Clay Catoe, you have a lot to be proud of in the men and women who are charged to protect the safety of the citizens of Lancaster.
They are the best of the best. They possess a genuine spirit of heartfelt unselfishness that is truly amazing.
But it doesn’t end there.
With regard to the entire Lancaster community in general, the generosity, compassion and kindness we have been shown is overwhelming.
The outpouring of support started while the fire was still burning and continues each day. It has been surreal. Our neighbors are not just someone we live next to, they are our friends, our support, and the people who continue to encourage us as we begin the journey of rebuilding our home and lives.
We are eternally grateful for everything the community has done for us.
It may be a while before we get a chance to acknowledge friends, families, and first responders individually, but know that we have read every text and email, listened to every voicemail, and treasured each of the beautiful cards that have been sent. We are truly humbled by it all.
What makes a house a home is the people inside.
Next year, when we return to 554 Plantation Road, we will come back to our home with the spirit of all of you who have helped us through this challenging time.
We will never forget the incredible support you have all given us. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.
Joe and Pam Giardiello
Whistle and Sassy