RGV veteran’s family home burns down in fire, community lends helping hand

Local News

DONNA, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Thursday in Donna, Juan and Ana Gonzalez stood side by side in front of caution tape blocking off an empty lot where their home used to be.

“My grandson was staying with us, he’s the one who said, ‘hey grandpa it’s the stove!’,” said Mr. Gonzalez. “I got a water hose, I tried, but it was to no avail.”

Credit: KVEO Iris Karami; Pictured (Left to Right) Juan and Ana Gonzalez in front of where their home used to be

On November 14, Mr. Gonzalez, his wife, and grandson were in their life-long home when the stove caught on fire.

“I said get out, get out, there’s nothing we can do,” said Mrs. Gonzalez. “We just went out and we saw everything red.”

The Gonzalez family recalled the bitter-sweet memories their family shared in that home over the last 49 years.

For over thirty years, Mr. Gonzalez served in the Army and currently works at Donna ISD as a security guard. He said he comes from a law enforcement family and explained that his four children followed the same path.

“We were taken in my relatives—like I said my daughter-in-law and my son—it’s not the same thing as having your own house,” said Mr. Gonzalez.

When word spread about the loss of their home, the community stepped up to lend a helping hand.

“After I met Mr. Gonzalez, I was like ‘this is what we gotta do’,” said Ronnie Cavazos, chairman of the South Texas Builders Alliance.

The STBA is a non-profit formed this year that looks to unite the local building community and also shares the mission statement of pouring back into the community, according to Cavazos.

Cavazos explained that they are working on raising the money and materials needed to rebuild the Gonzalezs’ home.

“So, I’m really excited about where we’re at, obviously there’s still a long way to go, there’s a hundred something line items, so we need help,” said Cavazos.

On Friday the 10th, the STBA is holding a casino-night fundraiser where part of the profits will go towards funding the Gonzalezs’ new home and the other portion will be given towards South Texas College’s program for skilled labor.

To buy tickets to the fundraiser or to learn how to donate to the Gonzalez’s home call, 956-614-8338.

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