Eppes Family Rebuilds

Thank you for visiting our GoFundMe page .  We (my father Ted, mother Debbie, brother Theo,  sister Keante', and myself Monique) thank you  for taking the time  to donate  to our family  in this great time of need .  All of the donations given  will go towards the cost  of immediate needs  such as clothing, toiletries,  food, and temporary housing as well as materials for the in-home childcare program my mother operates . My parents are planning to rebuild as well.  The home was my childhood home where my brother and I spent the majority of our lives; this home is the only home my sister has known. My brother (VA) and I  (NJ) have our own places, but my father, mother, and sister still resided in the home. Much prayer is needed as this situation leads to a tremendous amount of work ahead and can bring a great deal of mental anguish, physical stress, and worry.  Most people would be amazed with the strength my parents have shown these last few days. God's peace and protection are truly lifting everyone during this time.  We believe that our God is in the midst of it all despite the pain and sadness we feel. We are trusting in the Lord that anyone who is led to give will give from the goodness of their heart. We know that no gift is bigger or smaller than the other as they genuinely come from pure love and compassion, so please know that we are truly thankful for your willingness to help in any way.

Following this paragraph is the story of what took place the night of the fire as well as where my family stands as of now. There are also some pictures of the house afterwards.  Our intention is not to upset anyone as they are graphic and devastating; we just want everyone to thank God with us that everyone is safe and sound and this is a PART of our story but does not DECIDE our story!

Around 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 3rd ,  2018 ,  my father began to smell smoke  after he went outside  to get luggage from my vehicle  as my mother and I just returned to town from vacation.  He walked around the inside of the house  as he could continue to smell the smoke ; we pretty much figured one of the neighbors  had started a fire in the fire pit or something like that .  He checked outside the front door again to see if he saw anything then we both went to the back windows  and the back porch to look outside to the neighbor's yard. As I opened the blinds and he pulled back the curtain at the door, my father and I both saw orange flames  on our back porch near a deep freezer.  We immediately  went to get the fire extinguisher  from the kitchen  and my father attempted to aim towards the fire .

Pretty much the entire East Coast has been affected by  nor'easter weather with extremely windy conditions .  At the same time he opened the door  to use the fire extinguisher,  the wind picked up  and fed the flames .  He immediately closed the door ,  but the wind continued .  In a matter of seconds ,  I watch the flames extend across the enclosed porch and sweep up towards the sky .  My mother had just gotten out of the shower,  so I yelled for her to get dressed and grab her things because we needed to get out of the house .  I called 911 as my dad  exited the house through the front door  to  get to the backyard and try again to extinguish the fire .  We thought  the fire department would come and contain the fire  because it has started so small .  Little did we realize  that the wind was still blowing  this entire time  and by the time we got out of the house within that minute,  we could now hear the fire  and see the flames  over the back part of the house .  The fire department responded very quickly  within a matter of minutes even though it seemed like a lifetime  to us  and our neighbors  as the flames literally appeared out of nowhere  consuming the house .

The fire department work tirelessly to control the fire, extinguish the flames, and put out any hot spots for almost a total of 3 hours , but the strength of the wind  was uncontrollable. The fire did consume the entire house and it was deemed a total loss. My parents' neighbors  as well as many of my father's coworkers  immediately came  to check  on us  as everyone was literally in shock as to what had just taken place . My brother arrived  from work  after working a 14-hour shift  and my sister came immediately  from her school when she found out as well .  When we all got together  we immediately began thanking the Lord that we were all safe ,  no one was hurt ,  and none of the neighbors' homes  where damaged beyond repair .

Not many people know what I'm about to say other than our family and family friends but this is not the first fire my family has experienced  where we have lost nearly everything .  In June  of 1994 ,  my family  relocated  from Maryland to Virginia  due to military transfer .  The tractor trailer company  that was hired to transport our household goods  was hit by a drunk driver on the interstate  in the wee hours of the morning  and everything was lost in a massive fire .  That truck  turned on the side  as the rig  where the driver sat  ended up heading over into an embankment  with a 12 foot drop .  The movers  were  severely injured  as they escaped from the burning truck to save their lives ,  but we thanked God that no one died that day . I remember  being a young 8 year old little girl  and hearing my parents' reaction to the phone call  when they got the news of what had taken place and I remember them calling us  into one of the rooms of this very house to tell us  and assure us that everything was going to be okay because God will take care of us .  This story is not something that I think about often  because God's faithfulness  to my family  has been so abundant  in all of our lives  that this memory  is something that He literally  erased from our minds.  It is devastating  to be in the situation again  and to see my parents go through this  as I am now older  and can truly understand the severity  of what it means to start over  in this way . There are many long days ahead ,  but I can sleep at night in total peace  because I know  that my God is faithful ,  He watches over my family ,  and He has made a way  for my family  to be a blessing  to so many people  in our lives  and the surrounding community . We stand firmly on the fact  that the Lord would not  have us worried about anything  but that He would give us wisdom  and lend His favor  to ensure that all immediate and long-term needs are met.

If you have read this story all the way through, please know and understand that we are trusting God and we encourage you to do the same in your life. He is a big God and can and will exceed any expectations we could have as long as we trust Him and follow his direction. Again, thank you for taking the time to pray for my family and be a blessing to them. May God's blessings and His best always be present in your life!

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  • Jose Rivera 
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  • Danny Lee 
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Organizer and beneficiary

Monique Eppes 
Newport News, VA
Debbie Eppes 
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