A Home For The Holidays

Family recovers from November house fire


When fire destroyed Walter Devaney's home three weeks before Thanksgiving, he thought he and his family would have to spend the entire holiday season in a hotel.

But now he thinks they'll be home in time for Christmas.

Thanks to a fast-moving insurance company and a caring community, Devaney was standing outside his family's new manufactured home Wednesday, talking to Cris Lecher of Cable Vision.

Lecher was installing cable at the house so the Devaney family -- Walter, his mother, Ila, wife, Shirley, and teenage daughter Melissa can watch the bowl games this weekend.

The Devaney's log home burnt to the ground Nov. 6. They lost all of their belongings and Melissa's 8-year-old Chihuahua, but no one in the family was hurt. They'd all left for the Valley shortly before the fire started.

Devaney looked around at what had been ashes a month and a half ago and said he was pleased with his new home.

"They just got this set up the other day," he said. "We can start moving in tomorrow."

Devaney said he was surprised at how fast his insurance company responded to his family's needs.

"If it hadn't been for American Family Insurance and our agent, Jeff Wolfe, we wouldn't have nothing," he said. "They replaced just about everything."

And with a little help from their friends and neighbors, the Devaneys are putting their lives back together.

"Mesa del had a potluck out here for us," he said. "I really appreciated it. There's been a lot of people here who have helped us out. I don't know everybody's name, but I'd like to thank each and every one of them."

Shortly after the fire destroyed the family's home, the Devaneys got help from the American Red Cross, which put them up at the Inn of Payson. Their insurance company later rented them a house in Star Valley.

"They were real nice," Devaney said. "Johnny on the spot.

"We're going to try to move in tomorrow (Thursday). They're going to put gas in today. I can't move in today -- it's too cold, but we're going to try to be in the house Christmas Day."

Devaney said he just couldn't get over the help his family received from friends and strangers, alike.

"I was really surprised everything happened as fast as it did," he said.

To round out the holiday, an anonymous donor has promised to give Walter's daughter a new puppy, a red miniature dachshunds, next month.

"Be sure to tell everybody 'thank you' for all the help they gave us," he said.

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