KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – For Gerardo Guardiola and his family, it’s starting to feel like home again.
“It’s been a long year, but we’re coming back,” Guardiola said.
In several weeks, they’ll be able to move into their newly rebuilt house near Forney in Kaufman County.
Their son first spotted smoke coming from the chimney while jumping on the backyard trampoline.
Everyone escaped unharmed.
Guardiola has been a Dallas Police officer for 22 years, and says the Assist the Officer Foundation was very supportive. “I can’t tell you how much they helped me out but they did a lot.”
Neighbors rallied around the family, too. “I can’t tell you how great they were to me, all of my neighbors were, all of them.”
Luke Ragsdale, President of the Homeowners Association said, “It just goes to show I guess life’s all about giving and caring and helping when people are struggling, having to go through stuff. So you know, it’s a pretty good lesson for all of us to learn.”
It’s not just neighbors who wrapped their arms around this family.
Guardiola says strangers sent them checks and dropped off items after hearing about their story.
“It restored my faith in people. You know what, this is a great country, when they’re down, people will come to help out and they did,” he said.
For months now, they’ve lived in a nearby rental home.
The Guardiola’s 13-year-old daughter, Jessica told CBS 11 she’s tried to stay positive during the past year. “Very excited to head back home.”
Kindness and generosity of others, she said, have made it so much easier.
“It was very eye-opening to see how many people came to help us out and very blessed for everyone who helped out. It definitely made an impact on me,” she said.
For the Guardiolas, this has been a Merry Christmas.