MESILLA, New Mexico (KTSM) – After losing his home to a fire, volunteer firefighter captain and Purple Heart recipient Andrew Embury has received overwhelming support from his community. While he and his kids were not in the home, the fire did overtake the majority of the home, making it unsafe to live there.

They also lost their beloved pets — two dogs.

However, Embury’s friends did step up, offering up their homes, extra clothes and meals to help them along the way. He was overwhelmed by the support he has received and is grateful for their generosity.

“The community stepping up to help me has been unbelievable. There’s a huge support system. They’ve helped me organize in the new house. They’ve given me washers and dryers. We’ve gone to get new clothes. It’s really nice to know and important to know that you have friends to help you.”

Mesilla Mayor Nora Barraza has also stepped forward to help her friend and member of the community during this time. She is, however, overjoyed by the assistance Embury has been given by her town, for someone who is in need.

“They are a family and it is all family and then we’re their extended family in our community and that’s the advantage of having a small community ….. is everyone knows everyone and is always willing to step up and help out especially during crisis,” Barraza said.

While Embury said the support given to him and his family has been great, he would like people who are reaching out to support volunteer firefighter like himself and his department. He explained that it is not commonly known that those in the department are on a volunteer basis and usually have to drop everything to respond to an emergency.

“They can help with other things in the fire station, whatever they’re looking for. You can bake cookies, help them with meals, because a lot of volunteer firefighters are doing it for free and are skipping meals and sometimes earning pennies to get through their shift.”

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