Charles Is the kind of pet anyone could love–a sweet face, intelligent, friendly. But Charles isn’t a typical pet–he’s a pig. And he is one of the small miracles of the Gatlinburg Story. In the chaos of the fire and evacuation, Charles’ owner had to leave everything behind, including him. And now, it’s all gone.
The home that held so many memories is ashes, the woods surrounding it are a wasteland. But Charles had burrowed into the mud, and survived. Now there are SOME PEOPLE who are probably now indignant, wondering how someone could love a beloved pet behind to begin with. Well–when you can’t get the car out of the garage because of fallen trees, there’s a solid wall of fire roaring toward you and your choking 18 month old baby, and the pet weighs more than a grown man–you must sadly make a choice. And the tale of that choice is in the link below.
Rob Holmes and his family have lost so very much–but even in the losses, there are some blessings:
“We’re living in a hotel. We’re basically left with the clothes that we have. We have nothing, we’ve lost all of our possessions, but none of that matters,” Holmes said. “We’ve got something more and more important. we’ve got our family, we’ve got love.
“The Lord took care of us, and then he blessed us and he gave us back Charles, and so now, we’re complete.”
Charles Is Only One Of The Animals That Survived
The Sevier County Humane Society is currently taking care of many animals at the County Fairgrounds, everything from dogs and cats to horses, and more animals are still being found. Selfless veterinarians are providing a wide range of services free of charge when possible, and the outpouring of donations to the organization–money and more importantly food and volunteer assistance– is going a long way in healing the physical damage and providing the owners who are currently displaced with a sense of security, knowing their pets are being tended by loving hands.
Even when all seems lost–some things may be found. Even when it seems there is nothing left, there IS something left. For some, that is a pet. For others, it’s faith, or community, or family. Whatever it may be for each person, the very act of sharing an experience with others creates a certain bond, however horrific the experience may be.
And as you read through the timeline, wherever you may be, you come to look for certain familiar faces and names. You become a little familiar with the roads, and the local much loved attractions. You find yourself watching the clock for the next press conference, and rooting for the mayors as they face down the members of the media that are NOT part of the community.
And when a local journalist says God Bless You–on camera–hearing it feels good. Because the local journalists, the tireless professionals of WATE, WVLT, and WBIR, aren’t the plastic talking heads of the national networks. They’re real. They’re honest. And unlike the talking heads, they are committed to this place, and these people. They have found the delicate balance between objective, professional journalism and community partnership in a way that sets their coverage apart from the outsiders. We know they are being objective, and thorough. But they are also compassionate, genuinely involved, and a real part of their story.
Gatlinburg and the local area have lost so much. But time is already showing that people in Gatlinburg are finding much also. And there are more and more people around the United States, and in other countries, becoming a small part of this story–watching these news channels, leaving prayers, asking for updates, reaching out through cyberspace and connecting, uniting to share this story at the speed of light. Something unique is happening, that never could have happened before the internet and social media, and the result will be equally unique.