Tag Archives: Heros

My Husband…My Hero

21 Sep


Judy Wills


After the birth of our second child in 1971, we moved from Loring AFB, Maine, to San Antonio, Texas, where Fred would become an instructor at the Officer Training School (OTS) at Lackland AFB. Since our marriage, we had always lived in either apartments or government quarters. We felt it was time to own our first home. So we began looking at houses not too far from Lackland.

We didn’t actually have a realtor, but kept seeing signs for “Ray Ellison Homes” all around that area, so we checked them out. There was a subdivision of new homes there – within our price range – and we found one we liked. It wasn’t terribly large, but it had three bedrooms and TWO BATHROOMS!! WOW! We snapped it up.


The bedroom windows in this house were high and long – narrow. They were high enough that we could hang a picture above our bed (no headboard). One night in 1972, about 2:00 a.m., we both were awakened by a bright light. We got up and looked out our bedroom window – and saw flames roaring from the garage in the house next to us! It took us a few seconds to recognize what was happening, then we swung into action. I called the fire department, then ran to get the girls. I was in such a state that I forgot to bring extra diapers for Janet! The firemen told us we had to leave the house, so we went to the neighbor’s house across the street.

In the meantime, Fred ran next door to the burning house. He began ringing the doorbell and pounding on the door. I heard him yelling “FIRE” several times. He woke them up. To his amazement – they ran back into the house to get “stuff” before leaving. They told us later that, while they usually left their bedroom doors open at night, they had each closed their doors that particular night, and so didn’t know their house was on fire.


None of the family members were injured in the fire, while the entire house was destroyed. Fred suffered some burns on his forehead from blowing embers. After rousing the house members, he grabbed our garden hose and began spraying the side of our house, trying to save it from as much damage as possible. Some of our windows shattered, but we had the blinds closed, and so the shards were contained mostly in the carpet. We had about $500 damage to our house, including the soft water tank on that side of the house. But Culligan came and replaced it with no charge to us.


It took until after daybreak for the fire to be under control. We were amused to see that some of the neighbors came out to retrieve their newspapers and found fire trucks and hoses in the street! They hadn’t heard or seen anything during the night! Heavy sleepers, huh?

I volunteered to help do some salvage. What amazed me was in the kitchen – the door of the dishwasher was completely mangled and warped. But under the top cabinets hung a roll of paper towels, completely untouched by the fire!

Two years later, the house on the OTHER side of us caught fire in the early morning. And we learned that, after we left San Antonio, the house two doors down from THAT one burned. Seems like it skipped every other house. We’re just glad ours was one of the “skipped” ones!

But Fred is my hero – thinking of the neighbors as he did.


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