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Janice Mills rebuilds after last year’s tragedies

Matt Montgomery?Gazette
Janice Mills sits in her chair in front of her house before it burned down. It has since been almost restored and she is set to move in by the end of March.

By Matt Montgomery

Piedmont resident Janice Mills has shown bravery and courage over the last year. First she lost her husband, Dennis, Nov. 21, 2012, she then lost her mother. After losing two of the loves in her life, Mills’ home caught on fire and was destroyed more or less.

She recalled the Sunday night when her house caught on fire, because it was the day after what would have been her 40th wedding anniversary. She said she dozed off to sleep in the living room in her home at 2408 Piedmont Rd. N around 10 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, only to be awakened by a frantic pounding on her front door. It was passerby Mark Means beckoning her to get out of her burning house. Means, driving past the house, had noticed the flames shooting from Mills’ roof.

She managed to get out alive and could only watch as her house continued to burn.

However, Piedmont community members vowed to help Mills find a place to stay while her house was being repaired. Donnie Robinson and Larry Gage took time out of their evening to help Mills move her prized belongings into a POD storage device.

Mills said if it weren’t for the community of Piedmont rallying around her, this process would have been a lot harder.

“I think God has put just the most fantastic people in my life,” she said. “Steve Adamson, Bryan Adamson…” Mills said she went to school with the Adamson’s, who are Piedmont residents. Steve Adamson happens to be the contractor who rebuilt Mills’ home and Bryan Adamson installed the new wood flooring.

“Everyone has all just pulled together, you know?” she said “…Chris Biggs, Bryan and Pete Adamson, they opened their homes to me and let me stay with them and they just opened their hearts. They are the greatest, Godly people I think I know.”

Mills feels proud to live in Piedmont knowing she has neighbors who are willing to help out other neighbors even in the most trying of times.

“They talk about Oklahoma people being the best,” she said. “I can just tell you that Piedmont people are the best. Piedmont people have a heart. They have a heart for God and for their neighbors, and if one is hurting, they all hurt for you.”

It has now been six months since Mills’ house caught on fire and she was displaced from the home she raised her children, Heather and Joyce in, and the home she lived with Dennis in. At the end of March, she will get to go back to that home of so many memories.

“It will be the end of March before I can get in my home, but they are all working feverishly to get me in my home,” she said.

She also lost a lot of personal possessions when the fire destroyed most of her home, but Mills is optimistic about growing from here on out.

She had a close call yesterday, Feb. 25 when the water came strikingly too close to ruining the last bit of furniture she has left in the POD storage containers in front of her house.
“Everyone’s been pretty good for me, but now I’m getting nervous,” she said. “It’s time to get back. Time to put it all back together, but I’m excited.”

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