Community rebuilds home for Seguin woman, 97, after fire

Community joins in labor of love

Three months after her small wood-frame house was gutted by fire, a 97-year-old Seguin woman returned to a new home built out of compassion for her plight.

A large recreational vehicle pulled away, as the crowd shouted, "Move that bus!"

With that, Mary Fields in her wheelchair sat in awe of her new home, completed three months after her small wood frame house was deliberately gutted by fire.

"Oh, I'm so thankful, so blessed. God bless you all," said Fields.

Ken Chenevert, the Seguin contractor who helped spearhead the effort, said he's been told the arson investigation is ongoing.

Chenevert said he "fell in love" with the tiny, but spirited lady after learning of her plight nearly a month after she escaped the fire.

But after inspecting the damage, Chenevert said he knew the $10,000 insurance check would not be enough.

Robert Dannelley, a business associate, then offered to cover the air conditioning and heating cost. 

"It was the right thing to do," Dannelley said.

Chenevert's reaction at the time, "I started to cry like I am now."

"I knew that I could count on the community to help us," said Chenevert.

From the Home Depot in Seguin to sub-contractors, large and small donors alike at Friday's welcome home ceremony said they each felt compelled to help because of Field's herself.

"It's been amazing," said Sarah Pugh, who works in the Home Depot paint department. "I met her and she's the light of the world."

Pugh said she is restoring some mementos salvaged from the fire that Fields had in her home for over 50 years.

Fields made a point of thanking everyone who had restored what was lost, so she could remain independent in her own home.

Again and again, Fields told those who had shown such compassion, they are, "Wonderful, beautiful people. All of you."

To view a list of recent stories Jessie has done, click here.


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