Family Thanks Community for Rebuilding House After Fire

By Daniel Shedd |

Published 03/19 2014 10:17PM

Updated 03/19 2014 10:22PM

LONG LANE, Mo. -- An Ozarks family who lost their home in a fire showed thanks to the community for helping them rebuild.

The McDowell family's from Long Lane, near Buffalo.

That's where they gathered friends and family Wednesday in their new home.

"I'm glad to be home," Jennifer McDowell said.

Those are words she has been waiting to say for nearly three months.

On December 28, 2013, she and her husband Dennis were asleep when their home caught fire.. burning beyond repair.

"Everybody was safe, so we have a lot to be grateful for," she said.

The McDowells said the community helped them beyond measure.

Their neighbor Ray Bolin has housed the family since the night after the fire.

"We had the room, they needed some room, so we told them to live there as long as they needed to," he said.

"He had a guest house and we stayed in the guest house and then he even came and helped build the house," Dennis McDowell.

"Well, we'd do it for anybody that needs help," Bolin said.

And Jennifer's father helped with the design and rebuild.

"It looks to me like it's kind of turned out to be a blessing in disguise, now she's had friendship people help fixing it up," Charlie Kretzer said.

"You know, we're feeling very blessed," Jennifer said.

Jennifer used her new oven for the first time Wednesday night to preparing a thank you dinner for her family and new friends.

"Right now we're just so appreciative the town has gotten behind us we've had people get behind us that we didn't even know," she said.

"It was a community effort," Dennis said.

The McDowells were married in this backyard six years ago, the day they bought the first house.

And they see this day as a different kind of new beginning.

"I try to not look at the loss we had, I realize all the great that we do have," Jennifer said.

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