WHEN someone is dealt a hard blow, the tight-knit community of Kendall rallies around them without reservation.
The Hanlons lost their family home and all their possessions in a fire last month.
On July 19 during her night shift at Taree's Manning Base Hospital, nurse and mother Deena, received a call from husband Chris about 4am to tell her the house was burning. In the car driving back to their Batar Creek Road property, Mrs Hanlon called again to check on her loved ones.
She could hear crackling from the phone line catching alight and her three children screaming in fear. Abruptly, all went silent as flames ate through the wires. When the distressed mum arrived to see her family standing outside in their pyjamas watching their home crumple in a charred heap, a relieved smile spread across her face.
"I was just so happy no one was hurt," she said. "I didn't care about the house."
Hours later, offers of assistance from the entire community began flooding in.
Mr and Mrs Hanlon found accommodation for themselves and children Courtney, 15, Zack, 14 and
Rhys, 8, with their neighbours where they have stayed ever since.
Donations of clothing and even a slab of beer came thick and fast following the tragedy.
Support from this incredible community has kept the Hanlons strong throughout their devastating ordeal.
Mr Hanlon said no words could express how grateful his family is for Kendall’s kindness.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Mr Hanlon said.
He said mountains of paperwork had been filled out and it was now time to wait for the insurance company to provide financial assistance to rebuild the three-bedroom home.
Photos of the kids and special occasions were the most heartfelt loss for the family.
Friends and extended family will gather any photos of the Hanlons to rebuild keepsakes of many happy memories.
On Saturday, Kendall’s born-and-bred Fiona Paterson and Rhe Chapman have spearheaded organising a fund-raising event for the family at the Kendall Services and Citizens Club, a disco for children will kick off the night from 4.30pm.
Later on, games for grownups and an auction with a stack of donated items will contribute to the worthy cause.
As much money as possible will go towards helping this family back on their feet.
“If one of us goes down, we all go with them,” Mrs Chapman said. “That’s why we live here.”
NRL memorabilia including a signed Wallabies jersey will be for the taking at the auction, alongside a host of white goods, plumbing items, gift vouchers and more.
Kendall Blues players will also be up for grabs and club president John Barr will bestow right to shave his “very full” beard and luscious locks to the highest bidder.
“It’s a fun night all about family,” Mrs Paterson said.
The Hanlons moved to Kendall from Sydney in 2006.
Mr Hanlon is a Camden Haven Eagles juniors coach and plays for the Kendall Blues.