Homecoming takes on new meaning in Middletown after Valley Fire

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ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Saturday, November 7, 2015
Community rallies for homecoming after many left homeless from Valley Fire
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It's homecoming in Middletown, a symbolic event in the community that lost so many its homes in the Valley Fire.

MIDDLETOWN, Calif. (KGO) -- It's homecoming in Middletown, a symbolic event in the community that lost so many of its homes in the Valley Fire. A little late, homecoming was scheduled one week after the fire that destroyed 585 homes.

Just two months after the Valley Fire, Middletown has moved from scenes of despair to a measure of delight -- all tempered, of course.

"Homecoming was supposed to be that week, and them the fire comes," said Shaun Roderick, a teacher.

Homecoming has come back and this time in a more meaningful way.

"It means there's people here for you. There's more people. There's more happiness. There's no more sadness going on," said Rose Duncan, a student.

Telling the stories of all the 97 kids at Middletown High School who lost their homes might take another two months, so Duncan will do for now.

VIDEO: San Ramon woman collects homecoming dance outfits for Valley Fire victims

As her house burned, Duncan's father, the battalion chief, had been dispatched elsewhere. Her dad was fighting other fires.

"We didn't know if he was OK. We didn't know because four fire fighters had been blown over by the fire already," Duncan said.

Not only students lost homes, staff too.

"There was a reason we lost our home. Does it make us stronger for the kids? Does it help us help them get through something that traumatic as a teenager?" Roderick said.

"You may have lost everything but we never lose each other. Just stuff, each other is what matters, really," Duncan said.

Ruins to resolve.

READ MORE: Click here to see our full coverage on the Valley Fire