People whose roots in the north country go back many generations know their neighbors will be there for them in any time of need.

But what about those who are new to this region? Without having much time to make good friends, what will happen if an emergency occurs?

Shelena Endy and her family found out their recent arrival in Lowville wouldn’t stand in the way of strong support from residents. The people there stood by them as if they had been living there for years.

On the morning of Dec. 17, Mrs. Endy discovered that her house was on fire. The roof of her residence on Number Four Road was ablaze. She got her two children and two dogs outside to safety. Someone who passing by ran inside the home to help Mrs. Endy’s father escape.

A military family, the Endys previously lived in Washington state. But Mrs. Endy’s husband, Todd, was assigned to Fort Drum. So they moved to Lowville about two months ago; Todd Endy deployed to Afghanistan shortly thereafter.

The fire destroyed a good portion of the home as well as many personal possessions that have been in the family for years.

“The Lowville Fire Department was the first on the scene with the New Bremen department following shortly behind. They discovered heavy fire coming from the second floor at the front of the house,” according to a story published Dec. 22 by the Watertown Daily Times. “Off the bat, an interior team was sent up the stairs to work the flames. It took roughly 30 minutes to knock it down, and around 60 percent of the house was saved. Lowville Fire Chief Joe Austin was proud of his department’s steadfast response, though empathetic for a family displaced just ahead of Christmas. It appears the fire started in the chimney, worked its way to the second-floor room and punctured the roof. When crews sprayed from the top down, water collected in the basement nearly five feet deep. The living room, dining room and home office were directly below the fire, where there was a Christmas tree, handmade stockings and cherished items passed down by generations.”

The Endys could fixate on what they lost. But instead, they are profoundly grateful for what they received.

Penny and Kurt Dittl, both veterans of the U.S. Air Force, lived in this house for 15 years before selling it to Shelena and Todd Endy. Their daughter Shauna Dittl began a GoFundMe page for the Endys, which has so far raised more than $19,000. Mr. Dittl drained the plumbing lines at his former residence so they wouldn’t freeze.

Todd Endy was scheduled to come home from Afghanistan on emergency leave. Members of the military deployed overseas often wonder who will take care of their families when they are gone.

“When a soldier deploys, their biggest fear is ‘what if something happens to my family while I’m gone?’” Mrs. Endy said in the Times article. “My husband swore to take care of me and our children, but he also swore to defend this country. So he had to trust that he was leaving us in good hands. And this was a harsh tragedy. But the truth of the matter is that he did. He left us in good hands, and we’re very grateful.”

The community rallied around the Endys without a moment’s hesitation. Neighbors brought food to the family. The Lowville American Legion has offered its support.

“We’ve been treated like locals,” Mrs. Endy said. “We’ve been embraced and taken care of.”

This response reflects well on the people of Lowville. Mrs. Endy pledged to donate some of what her family receives to the fire departments that extinguished the blaze. She wants to spread the good will of the people who surround her, and this shows that she fits right in.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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