Starting over at Christmas time

Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

Fires have destroyed their homes but not their spirits as two Roosevelt County families start from scratch this holiday season with an optimistic attitude.

L.A. Davis and his family of Floyd will spend their first Christmas without a home after the Floyd fire on Nov. 30 burned everything to the ground. L.A. Davis, his wife Sarah and their two grandchildren had their house destroyed by the fire. Both boys attend Zia Elementary in Clovis.

“We lost everything,” Davis said on Friday. The Davis family lost furniture, clothes, two vehicles, family portraits, antiques and everything else they own. Davis said just the other day it hit him how little his family has. “I wanted to get shoe treatment for my boots when I realized I didn’t even have that. I don’t have anything. Me and Sarah had more when we got married.”

Less than two weeks later, Donald “Andy” Anderson of Portales lost his home to a fire. Anderson’s mobile home was destroyed on Dec. 10. According to Battalion Chief Mickey Hargrove firefighters brought the fire under control within 30 minutes of arrival. Cause of the fire has not been determined, yet.

However, the house was destroyed, leaving Anderson without furniture, clothes and any other possessions.

Anderson is staying with his mother, who lives next to his house. Remarkably, only presents Anderson had bought for other people were not destroyed. They were lying in the living room.

Anderson is an avid collector of comic books, action figures, posters and memorabilia. He’s spent years and years collecting and now its all gone. Kayce Whitacre, Anderson’s mother, said a comic book collection was started for her son before he was born. The family owned The Spider’s Web comic book store in Portales before they had to close it.

Still what hurts him the most is losing the items that remind him of his dad, who passed away when Anderson was a Portales High sophomore. Anderson is now 23 years old.

“I lost photos of me and my father when I was younger,” Anderson said. “I lost models he built. Things I can’t replace.”

The Davis family and Anderson have had to look for a place to stay in the meantime.

Davis said his family has stayed with other family members and they also spent time at a hotel. Davis said they will be moving into a house a friend offered to them in the meantime. Davis said people have donated items such as children’s clothes to them.

“Everybody’s called to ask how we’re doing,” Davis said. “They’re all angels.”

Nora Cross of 14K Hair and Nail Salon in Clovis said people can donate items for the Davis family at the salon. Davis said they are putting together a claims’ list for a settlement from Cannon Air Force Base, however receiving a settlement and building a home could take years.

But Anderson doesn’t have anything to fall back on. He said he couldn’t get his mobile home insured because it was too old.

“What Andy needs the most is someone who will lend him a home or a lender for a loan,” Whitacre said.

Anderson said friends and co-workers have been helpful such as Amiri Alexander who drove down from Albuquerque to see how he could help. According to Anderson, Wal-Mart co-workers have offered him furniture, but he has nowhere to put it.

Despite the adversities they have been dealt, the families who have lost their homes have one strong common belief, stay positive and never give up. The Davis’ remain optimistic for their two boys, who are their grandchildren.

“If you get too down and out it will ruin you,” Davis said.

Both families are grateful that the houses weren’t occupied when the fires occurred. Davis said Sarah and their grandchildren were in Lubbock for a doctor’s visit when their house burned.

Anderson said he was working at Wal-Mart when his house burned down.

“I don’t know what I would have done if I lost Andy,” Whitacre said. “Bad things happen to good people. If you keep your sprits up, what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger.”

Whitacre said her son takes care of his grandmother and he took care of a friend who was suffering with AIDS. She said he also took care of his grandfather before he died.

Both the Anderson family and the Davis family have accounts set up for anyone interested in contributing donations. People can make out checks to the families at any Access Bank in Portales and Clovis. People can also make donations at American Heritage Bank in Clovis for the Davis family.