Drowning victims' family will keep their home

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VOLUNTOWN, Conn. - A mortgage company has stopped foreclosure proceedings on the home of a family who lost a father and son in a swimming accident.

The company, which did not wish to be named, elected to write off the debt and give the Girard and her family the title to the property.

"They're going to walk away from it. They're going to write it all off," family Attorney David Collier told the Norwich Bulletin newspaper. Collier represented the family for free when the home went into foreclosure. Collier also said the mortgage company doesn't want to be named because they don't want to profit from the family's loss.

In July, Thomas Girard, 45, and his 18-year-old son Marc drowned in Great Falls. Since then, Girard's wife Carol has been trying to make ends meet for their four remaining children, ages 7 to 15.

The Girard family is no stranger to hardships. According to the Norwich Bulletin, they fell behind on their mortgage payments when Thomas Girard was laid off of his job with Pfizer, and although Girard had found work at a community college, they were unable to catch up.

In August 2007, their home caught on fire. The original mortgage company kept the insurance check, so they were unable to repair the home to liveable condition, the Norwich Bulletin reported. Instead, they lived in a fifth wheel, all-season travel trailer in their yard. Since the drowinings, the family has moved in with Carol's mother.

Carol told the Norwich Bulletin that having a home will offer her family the stability they need.

"It's like now, the world is slowly coming off my shoulders. Now we can do something," she told the newspaper.

About 100 volunteers are ready to help the Girard family make repairs to the home once the title is transferred. Collier told the Bulletin that he's not sure exactly when that's going to happen.

"This doesn't happen every day," he told the newspaper. But Carol Girard told the Bulletin that is a relief just to know that their family will eventually hold the title to their home.





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