GOFFSTOWN — Thanks in large part to the support of friends and community members, Kim DeVoid Colby and her husband Rob Colby are beginning the long process of rebuilding from the two-alarm house fire that claimed the lives of four pets and left the family homeless for the holidays.
The Colbys, who are now in temporary housing on their 181 Goffstown Back Road property, say the outpouring of aid began just hours after the blaze had been contained.
“Our neighbors, Rob Walton and his wife, Jen, came over right after we found out our animals were gone and said ‘Don’t worry, we’re gonna take care of this together tomorrow,’ ” said Kim Colby. “The next day, as soon as Rob got done with work, he came over with his backhoe to get everything all set for us so that we would be able to bury our pets. They’re wonderful people.”
From there, Kim Colby says the support from the Goffstown community only grew, with contributions from local businesses and colleagues, as well as several GoFundMe pages and mailed donations from strangers.
The Colby family’s many supporters included Goffstown resident Gail Labrecque, who organized a Pampered Chef party to help the family rebuild its supply of kitchenware, and Brown Emporium owner Deanna Brown, who started a gift card drive that raised $450 in the first two days after the fire.
Support also came in the form of an assortment of Christmas decorations from Family Outfitters of Manchester, which donated the supplies when Rob Colby visited the store in search of items to decorate the hotel room the couple was staying in during the holidays.
“I was trying to figure out things to decorate for the wife,” said Rob Colby. “I hate Christmas, but she really likes it. I picked my brain, went looking for help and they were there to help.”
As grateful as the couple is for the support, Kim Colby says she can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed.
“I’ve always been the fixer,” Kim said. “I’ve always been the one that makes everybody’s life easier. There’s a feeling of helplessness when something like this happens. It’s not just helplessness about your lost stuff, but it’s about the holding pattern you’re in while you rebuild and the need to allow people to help.”
On Christmas Eve, the couple hosted their friends, adult children and Kim’s parents for a ham dinner in their hotel room.
The holiday gathering was one that Kim, a practicing nurse who usually works during Christmas, has missed out on for the last several years.
“In some ways, it was much more (like Christmas) than it probably would have been if we had been in the house,” said Kim.
The Colby family is currently accepting donations of sheets, towels and other assorted household goods. A complete list can be found here: https://m.facebook.com/groups/113096158853792/permalink/1225600177603379.