Sunday will mark the two month anniversary of the day Deidre Schiazza and her family watched as a fire gutted the inside of their Villanova Drive house.
But since that time, Schiazza said she has been beyond moved by a community that has rallied around them in their time of need.
That help will continue on Sunday at the Howell First Aid Squad building, when the United Republican Club will host a pancake breakfast for their benefit.
Schiazza said it is just another example of friends and family pitching in to get the family through this very difficult time.
"This experience, as horrible as it has been, has just been very very humbling and the outpouring of support from friends, family and the community has been unbelievable," she said.
Like most people, she said her family never could have imagined something like this happening to them, but it has made the support they have received that much more meaningful.
"People who don't have this help after a tragedy like this, I don't know how they've been able to go on," she said.
When she goes back to her house now, Schiazza said she sees a structure that has been totally gutted, and one which she hopes will be livable for her and her family in the next five or six months.
Admitting that it will likely be a little strange to be back in the house later this year, Schiazza said it is important to them that they do return when they are able.
"I am looking forward to it," she said. "I really don't want to leave our house of 17 years that way. I want to leave on a happy note."
Holding firmly to her belief that everything happens for a reason, Schiazza said she still vividly remembers the events of that March day when the lives of her and her family were changed forever.
While at work just a few minutes from her house, Schiazza said she got a phone call from a neighbor telling her that there was smoke coming from the center window of the house. Rushing home, she said she was surprised by the site that greeted her on her normally quiet street.
"I pulled up to the block and the block was covered with fire trucks and ambulances," she said.
All told more than a dozen agencies and organizations responded to the fire in an impressive show of teamwork.
Knowing that her family was out of the house at the time of blaze, Schiazza said her first thoughts went to the family dog who she had hoped had gotten out of the fire alive. Unfortunately, that was not the case. But she their was at least a slight sense of relief when firefighters were not only able to remove the dog from the house, but also assured her that it appeared the dog had not suffered.
"They got her out and brought her to the backyard," she said. "She looked very peaceful."
Even from that day Schiazza said she was amazed at the support that was offered right away.
"The outpouring of support that day, emotionally and physically and financially, I'll never forget it," she said.
After staying with family in Jackson immediately following the fire, the family is living temporarily in a house in Colts Neck. As it happens, Schiazza said the house they are staying in now was at one time rebuilt after a fire.
As for her plans for the future, in addition to one day moving back into their home, Schiazza said she hopes to write a book about the experience and others in her life.
"The past few years have been very trying. This has just been the icing on the cake."
Robert Antonelli, the club's president, said he was glad the organization was able to do something to help the family.
"Our organization is committed to community based needs and this situation is one that required involvement," he said. "We have to come together as a community."
Schiazza said that her family and the Antonelli's have known each other through the community and the school where she works, but she did not expect that to result in an event like this.
"I was very very surprised that day when his wife came into the school and told me about this," she said. "I was very touched."
The pancake breakfast is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the squad building located at 16 Kent Road. The cost is $10 per person with children under 12 eating for free.