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Woman Loses Husband and Son & Is Left With 4 Kids and a Burned-out Home – Kind Strangers Step In

Brittany Chalmers
Jul 28, 2022
10:50 A.M.

One family experienced a devastating blow, and just when things started to look up, something tragic happened, leaving them heartbroken. Read their tear-jerking story and discover how a group of strangers gave them hope to carry on.

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Life isn't always fair, and sometimes people face more pain than anyone could bear. While it can be nearly impossible to pick up the pieces after a gut-wrenching loss, family members find a way.

Healing takes time, and one family received a life-changing gift from compassionate strangers. It helped them grieve, let go and move forward.

Lucas Girard. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

Lucas Girard. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

THEIR HOUSE WENT UP IN FLAMES

The Girard family were like any other happy brood, enjoying life and making memories in Voluntown, Connecticut. They were generous with their time and spent many hours fundraising and serving in their local church.

The family was getting ready to leave Voluntown and start over somewhere else when their lives were turned upside down in the blink of an eye.

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The parents, Thomas and Carol, adored their five kids, Marc, Hannah, Adam, Lucas, and Jacqueline. While the seven family members volunteered one day in 2007, their home went up in flames.

The Girard family home after a devastating fire. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

The Girard family home after a devastating fire. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

THEY WERE HOMELESS

All the areas in the home were engulfed in flames or damaged by the water that tamed the blaze. The Girard family moved into tents and trailers and even experienced homelessness after the devastating fire.

Despite the significant loss, they were grateful that God kept them safe. Carol shared:

"We could have been depressed the entire time. But who’s that helping? Definitely not us."

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The Girard family home after a devastating fire. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

The Girard family home after a devastating fire. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

THEY HEARD SIRENS

The family was getting ready to leave Voluntown and start over somewhere else when their lives were turned upside down in the blink of an eye. The day before their planned move, Thomas took his kids out for a fun day at a lake near their house.

Carol, Adam, and Jacqueline stayed in their trailer while Marc, Lucas, and Hannah excitedly went swimming with their father. When Carol heard sirens driving past her home, she knew something terrible had happened. The mother said:

"When we saw the rescue boat go by we said, 'Oh no.' We knew right then and there that something bad had happened."

Hannah Girard. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

Hannah Girard. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

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TRAGEDY STRUCK

While the four family members were swimming, dad Thomas began struggling, and his eldest son Marc swam over to help him. The rest of the siblings managed to return to the shore.

However, Lucas and Hannah were screaming because their brother and father were still under the water. Someone contacted emergency services, and paramedics arrived at the scene.

They pulled the duo from the water but sadly, it was too late. Thomas had drowned, and his son was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died a few hours later.

Jacqueline Girard. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

Jacqueline Girard. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

THE FAMILY WAS DEVASTATED

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The family struggled to make sense of what had happened, and the younger siblings had painful memories to process. Hannah felt guilty because she had been on her dad's shoulders when he started struggling in the water.

Lucas needed counseling after witnessing the ordeal, and understandably Carol was shattered after losing her husband and son. In a short time, the family faced more pain than most people endured throughout their lives.

The Girard family. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

The Girard family. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

PROUD OF HER SON

The double tragedy shook the Girard family, and they had little hope to carry on. They were robbed of their home, and when things started to improve, they lost the last thing they had—each other.

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However, Carol believed her husband and son were "meant to go together." While heartbroken, she was proud of her son because he didn't leave his dad behind, even if it cost him his life.

Carol Girard. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

Carol Girard. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

A LIFE-CHANGING SURPRISE

When the fatal accident occurred, Carol and her husband were two weeks away from celebrating their 19th wedding anniversary.

She never thought she would be able to push forward, but a group of kind strangers changed that. A team of home renovators signed up to help the family and surprised them with a brand new house.

The Girard family in their new home. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

The Girard family in their new home. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

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THEIR NEW HOME

They demolished the family's former home, which reminded them of sorrow and pain. The family was left speechless when they saw their new house and looked forward to starting afresh.

Carol stated: "This is the place we'll call home." Her daughter Jacqueline added:

"I don’t know what to do but to cry. It was so beautiful.”

The Girard family's new home. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

The Girard family's new home. | Source: youtube.com/ExtremeMakeoverHomeEdition

THE HOME'S SPECIAL DETAILS

The house was designed with the late father and son in mind. It featured many medieval pieces paying homage to Thomas and his love for knights.

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Daughter Hannah's room featured a snowflake design to remind her of her dad. He always called her his snowflake, and she could think of him whenever she was in her room.

MOVING ON FROM THE TRAGEDY

The renovators incorporated various details to ensure the house was a special place for the family. Carol expressed:

"We will still have some sorrowful tears. But my kids don't have to be afraid of what's to come anymore. I don't think our life is going to have tragedy written all over it anymore."

Thanks to the kindness of strangers, the Girard family gained the hope they needed to persevere. While their new home didn't erase their past pain, it gave them a place to start making new memories.

Click here for another emotional story about a family that experienced loss. A baby was born at precisely the same time as his dad's death.

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