URBANDALE, Iowa -- Home for the holidays has a whole new meaning for the Rhoades family because they are spending their first Thanksgiving in their new home after they lost everything when their house and in-home daycare center flooded, then exploded back in June.
“We’re having a Friendsgiving on Sunday with all of our old neighbors and getting them together and friends and so that’s really exciting. It took awhile for this place to feel like home probably less than a month ago is when it started to feel like home,” Christina Rhoades said.
But the horrific tragedy is still fresh in their minds.
“Gage told me to come look at my room because it was filling up and then right when I go there the wall collapsed and then I started screaming because I thought my mom and dad were dead,” Brody Rhoades said.
Right after the explosion, Christina said she would never return to their old house, but after some time she visited the wreckage.
“There was one night I was driving home from my friend’s house, like I normally did, and I drove there and I just sat there with my headlights on it and it was just like looking at a prison with all my memories and things in it. And I know they are just things, but there are some things that can’t be replaced like their first outfits that were in frames,” Christina said.
The community and their Farrell's gym family stepped up to fill the void after the Rhoades lost all their belongings, cars and home.
“What really touched me was the community. People that would come and drop off donations that had never met Christina or Shane before and dropped off large sums of money, bags of clothes, toys, you name it. And it was just incredibly touching to see,” Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping’s Denise De Hamer said.
De Hamer said the gym was able to raise more than $6,000 for the Rhoades.
The Rhoades said without the help of others they wouldn’t have been able to rebuild their lives so quickly.
“We were meant to be in this home and meant to be on to bigger and better things. And I think that sometimes you have to suffer in order to get to the other side,” Christina said.
And on Thanksgiving, Shane said they are extremely blessed.
“Everybody has just done every little bit that they can and we are so grateful for it all,” Shane Rhoades said.
Christina said they have a lot to be thankful for.
“We are very thankful we have each other. That we were able to find everything we needed and the support, words of encouragement, donations, they were everything because of my loss of income and needing to buy all new things. It really helped and without that we’d probably still be in a hotel right now,” Christina said.
She said whatever donated clothes, furniture and toys that they didn’t need they gave to those affected by the Marshalltown tornado and others who needed it.