Finding comfort in the face of hardship and tragedy

5 July 2012

FORT KENT– Chad Pelletier and Danielle Guerrette have seen their share of change this year, starting with losing almost everything they owned in the fire that claimed a block of historic buildings in downtown Fort Kent this past winter. Most recently, Danielle lost her grandfather, Norman Ouellette, her mother’s father.

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MOVING ON AND MOVING IN - Shown from left, (back row), are Rodney Pelletier, Chad Pelletier, Phil Guerette, (front row), Diane Pelletier, Danielle Guerette, and Glenna Guerette. Chad and Danielle and their parents are standing in front of the new house the young couple bought after losing almost everything they owned in the fire that destroyed a block of historic buildings in downtown Fort Kent this past winter. They threw a well-attended housewarming party on June 23 for the family and the community that generously helped them out after the fire. In the midst of moving into each of their parent's houses immediately after the fire, Danielle's starting a new job, the couple buying a new house and renovating parts of the interior and exterior, and holding the housewarming party after finally moving in, the couple has also maintained plans to start a newly married life together in October. - Julie Daigle image

Some change is good, however. From the ashes of the fire, the couple has found a new house and new directions, like the adventurers after which their kittens, Thelma and Louise, are named.

The fire forced the couple to move back in with their respective parents for a short while until they figured out what the next step would be. Diane Pelletier, Chad’s mother, said the couple had become engaged two weeks before the fire, with the wedding planned for October.

They considered getting another apartment after the fire, said Chad, but the timing seemed right to go ahead and look around for a house. They found the house they had been looking for shortly after they started looking, and held a well-attended housewarming for the community on June 23.

Through the donations account at NorState Federal Credit Union, the townspeople gave approximately $3000 to each family made homeless by the fire, said Diane. It was enough to help Chad and Danielle put a new roof on the house they’d just purchased and to make a few improvements inside.

Diane, said, “People were really, really good.”

Danielle echoed Diane when she said, “People were really amazing.”

The generosity of the community seems to be what has made the biggest impression on the whole family.

In the wake of the fire, Chad and Danielle are moving forward with their plans to marry in October, Danielle‘s family is adjusting to the loss of her mother’s father, and the young woman has started a new job at Northern Maine Medical Center. On the weekend following the housewarming party, Chad’s family celebrated the eightieth birthday of Diane’s mother, Fernande Pelletier.