After two months, Darell and Dayna Budlong are coming home.

The Budlongs lost their home in the March 1 fires that ravaged Stephens County. On Tuesday, a trailer was placed on the lot where their house originally stood, courtesy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Dayna said, “This is a blessing right here. This will put us on our feet until we rebuild. We can move ahead with our lives.”

Along with the Budlongs come their “children,” which include a Lab, a Doberman mix and two cats. They lost a cat in the fire, which Dayna said was a difficult loss.

“I’m ready to be back home,” Dayna said. “My animals will be able to come back home. And I’m happy for my animals.”

In the area where the Budlongs’ home stood, the neighbors are also family. And the families’ homes were also destroyed or damaged.

Her aunt and uncle, Patti and David Williams, lost their home of 30 years to the fire. Her grandmother, Coy Pemperton, had to have her home remodeled after the fire damaged one end of it. Dayna’s parents, Kathy and Buddy Bowles, were lucky because a neighbor saw their house on fire and worked quickly to put it out.

The Williamses will also be getting a trailer to call home.

Dayna said, “Now our family will be back together. Anyone who knows us knows our strong bond.

“I’m ready to be back out here with my family. They’ve helped me get through this.

“The people in the community have helped, too.”

She’s also thankful for the help her family received after the fire.

“You don’t even know how to thank people. I can’t even think of words to thank them enough.

“I still get emotional now.

“Strangers helped us, too. I promise in the future I will do the same.”

Her mother, Kathy, said she was stunned by the support her daughter received from the community.

“It has been unbelievable,” she said. “Everyone is pulling together.”

After the fire, Darell’s grandmother, Sadie Budlong, offered her home to Dayna and Darell. They stayed with her for two weeks before moving into a friend’s garage apartment in Comanche.

The 80-foot FEMA trailer came from Hope, Ark. It was originally scheduled to be delivered next week.

Dayna said, “It’s been a good surprise today.”

The Budlongs went to the Stephens County fairgrounds after the fire destroyed their home. There they made contact with FEMA agents who helped them apply for the trailer.

“I never thought I’d be in the position to have to ask for help,” Dayna said.

FEMA also helped put the trailer on the Budlong property. Those helping included three FEMA subcontractors, Wesley Jeffcoat, James Tettenhorst and Scott Scope; a driver, Dave Scott; and a mobile home setter, Floyd Wilkerson.

Dayna said she appreciated their help.

The Budlongs will be able to live in the trailer for 18 months. And the trailer came fully furnished.

Dayna said, “We have 18 months to acquire those things for when we do get a home.”

She said she was excited about the trailer and said the trailer was “very nice.”

“I don’t really have the words to describe how I feel now,” she said

Her father, Buddy, said he could tell the trailer was going to make Dayna happy.

“I haven’t seen her smile this much in two months,” he said.

If another fire struck, Dayna said she would be ready.

“I’ll be prepared,” she said. “If it does, I’ll definitely be prepared.”

In January, Dayna and Darell discussed the items they would grab if their house caught on fire. But when the fire came, they did not take any of the items they had talked about.

“You panic,” she said. “You don’t think clearly. I never thought it would happen to me.”

One item Dayna did remember to grab was her wedding ring. She dug through her jewelry box to find the ring. Afterward, she wondered why she did not just take the jewelry box.

Dayna said she was also thankful to God.

“I’m thankful we got out with our lives,” she said. “The good Lord was watching over us. Without Him watching over us, none of this would have been possible.”

She said having a place to call home will help her rest easier.

“I think I’ll finally be able to have a good night’s sleep,” Dayna said.

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