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Letter to the Editor: My “Thanks-giving”

My “Thanks-giving” by Bob Cottingham, Pea Ridge | November 29, 2022 at 7:00 a.m.

Terror! Pure, full-blown terror!

Not an emotion one would associate with a Thanksgiving morning in our quiet town.

A loud POP woke me from sleep upon my couch following a shoulder surgery. Looking out my patio blinds my garage was on fire! Composure gave way as I woke my wife in the back bedroom with shouts of FIRE, FIRE,FIRE!! My house phone and cell phone did not respond. I heard a pounding on my front door. Mrs. Townsend from across the street was shouting and dialing 911.

Within seconds a police officer was at my door telling my wife and I to get out now and asking if there were any pets in the house.

Our neighbor Tony Garcia took Sue to his house and safety.

I stood in the driveway watching my garage engulfed in flames at an alarming and unbelievable speed. My two cars, a lifetime of archery equipment and supplies, an expensive collection of tools, our camper, were nothing more than fuel for this raging inferno consuming with no mercy. I moved my beloved Dodge truck to keep it from becoming another victim.

Approximately 10 minutes at most, our volunteer firefighting team of professionals arrived to do battle.

I was in complete awe as these warriors did battle on this rainy morning giving it their absolute all to protect my house from the flames, which were within inches of igniting my house roof. I was so very proud of them all for their bravery, skill, determination and absolute fearlessness. It was a sight this war veteran will never forget.

Many other cities' firefighting teams were there. I was told there were nine fire trucks from other cities to fight this fire. I was so humbled I can't even describe.

Firefighter/church deacon Bob took time pray with me. Another neighbor, J.D., came to offer help as did others. Sweet Annette Beard, our dedicated news reporter and longtime personal friend, concerned with my standing in the rain, loaned me her down-filled vest that "she wore on her honeymoon," a raincoat and umbrella.

What began about 4:20 was contained before the sun came up. My entire garage contents and memories were now just a pile of muddy ashes and charred wood. The unselfish devotion of our firefighters and police officers dedicated to their calling, saved my house and probably our lives. How do you thank so many brave and unselfish heroes for so much?

Nobody was hurt. My house and wife are safe.

My gratitude humility, love, pride and appreciation for this city, my friends, its citizens and emergency responders leaves me overwhelmed.

I wish I knew the names of all the individuals who spent their Thanksgiving morning risking their lives to protect my home, my family and me. You are my heroes.

Thanksgiving day will forever have an unforgettable meaning to this thankful citizen of an extraordinary city called Pea Ride and my home. God bless each and every one of you and Happy Thanksgiving.

Bob and Sue Cottingham

Pea Ridge

Print Headline: Letter to the Editor

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