| Feb 28, 2008

Feature Article - February 28, 2008

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Feature Article - February 28, 2008 Neighbours come to couple’s rescue By Jeff GreenA building crew, comprised of neighbours arrived at the Decrou home Saturday morning to erect a shelter for their five horses.

Two and half years ago Adrienne and Norman Decou moved to the Flinton area from their previous home in Windsor because they found a nice piece of land where they could pursue their hobbies. Norm wanted an air strip and Adrienne wanted to keep horses, so they bought a 170 acre farm on the Freeburn Road and began to build their future.

“We immediately started renovations to the old cow barn on the property. We invested a lot of sweat and money and received a lot of help, adviceand support from our neighbors. We were quite happy with our progress. We had four stalls, a tack area and an indoor home for our tractor and our hay”, Adrienne recalled when interviewed early this week.

It all burned down last Wednesday, February 20.

Norm was working at his job in Belleville and Adrienne was working for the Limestone School Board in Tamworth when their barn caught fire at around noon. Fortunately Adrienne’s five horses were not in or close to the barn at the time, and the Canada Post mail driver was making her rounds earlier than normal on that day, so the fire deparment was notified in time to save the couple’s house. Although it is located a distance from the barn, the siding was melting on the house when crews arrived, and since the barn was already gone they focused their efforts on the house.

“I was set on not having horses any more on Wednesday evening. I didn’t even consider keeping them. They had lost all their feed, I didn’t know where I was going to house them, we had lost our tractor, all of our gear, everything. I didn’t see how we could start over again. We were devastated,” Adrienne said.

That night Adrienne told Glen and Cheryl Davidson, whom she refers to as her “angel neighbors”, that she might as well pack up and move back to Windsor.

“They must have spent last Wednesday night on the phone,” Adrienne said, “because Glen phoned the next morning and said we’ve got you the hay you need, and all the materials to build an enclosure.”

The Madoc Co-op provided grain, a water heater, and more; Yourway Lumber kicked in with whatever building materials other neighbours could not provide. On Saturday morning a crew of nine arrived to turn a small lean-to that had been spared by the fire into a semi-enclosed 20’ x 30’ structure suitable for five horses.

Glen Davidson has offered to cut their hay this year and another neighbour has offered to lend the Decous a portable sawmill so they can get lumber for a new barn from their own land.

For Adrienne Decou, it has made her more committed than ever to her new community.

“The outpouring of support has been amazing.The sense of community, and belonging to it, is so strong it's overwhelming. We are not 'local', having lived here only a short time but you would never know it. It feels like our 'roots' are here. I am not knocking Windsor, but this never would have happened there. People are way too disconnected. We lived on a street with 100 people or more and I only knew 2 families by name!

“We may have lost a barn and lots of 'stuff' but what we have gained in just 'being human' is unbelievably overwhelming. We will never be able to find the words to adequately thank everyone, but we will always be looking for ways to pay it forward!

“When we first moved here weknew we had found our little piece of heaven on earth but we did not know there were angels that came along with it.”

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