By CATHY MOUNCE
Register Staff Writer
For Steve and Joyce Moler, September 6 began just like any other morning but by the end of the day, their popular A2Z Auction business in the Callisburg area had gone up in smoke and they were homeless — victims of a fire that left them with only the clothes on their backs.
The fire was likely caused by electrical problems in the rear of the home where the family resided. The Molers and two grandsons Nathan, 15, and Jeremy, 13, lived in the residential quarters behind the auction area. The two boys attended Callisburg schools but now have transferred to Denison schools where the family is now residing with relatives pending a hopeful relocation back to the Callisburg area.
“We are staying with my daughter Jennifer in Denison since we did not have insurance and do not have a place to live,” Joyce Moler said. “This has been such a real blow for us but we have many things to be thankful for.”
The fire started at a time when no one was home except for a beloved family dog, Tank, that perished in the fire.
“Nathan and Jeremy had already gone to school and Steve was assisting me with an estate sale in Denison,” Joyce Moler continued. “If it had started earlier the boys might have been lost. If it had been later, Steve who works nights, could have been sleeping there as he sometimes does and might not have made it out.”
Coming to terms with such an enormous loss takes time, Steve Moler said.
“Although we’ve lost everything, we have much to be thankful for,” Steve Moler said. “We do OK but sometimes when we stop and think about what has happened and mementos or pictures we will never see again come to mind we break down a little.”
The Molers, married for 27 years, had rented the building for their auction business for 17 years.
After working in Plano, the pair decided to quit their jobs and pursue their dream of owning their own business by working auctions, estate sales and garage sales.
“I loved doing this and I got my auctioneer’s license immediately to start our business. It was slow at first and we wondered if we were supposed to do this at all,” Joyce Moler said. “Then one day I just asked God to send me some work so that it would validate our decision. That week we got a call to do a garage sale and an estate sale. After that, the business took off and we were doing what we loved to do. We have met so many people who not only became customers but friends as well.”
To their surprise, the couple did not realize just how many friends they have and how important they were to the community until after that fateful day. Churches immediately responded to the family needs with financial aid, clothing and emotional support.
The Callisburg schools collected donations for them and one of the principals has a new puppy for the boys to fill in for the much loved Tank as soon as the family has a permanent home to return to.
“We are not sure where or how we are going to find another home,” Joyce Moler said. “Steve has not been able to work since the fire and we are trying to clear the area of the debris. Our landlord Shirly Sturm told us we could collect any salvage money on any of the metal remaining but she is not planning to rebuild the structure.”
She continued, “We were given a new laptop computer by Dennis Perry that I am learning to use and he also took Jeremy shopping for clothes recently.”
“People have just been there for us in many ways,” Steve Moler said. “And I can’t say enough about the Red Cross. They were on the scene immediately and helped us with a temporary place to stay.”
Their first auction since the fire will be held at the National Guard Armory at 1700 Loy Lake Road in Denison on Oct. 19 beginning at 10 a.m. with many collectible items already on hand including a valuable squash blossom necklace that was stored in the fire proof safe at the auction site. Vintage and antique furniture and cobalt blue glassware are some of the items already collected.
“We rented the building and are receiving consignments daily for the event. It is like starting over,” Joyce Moler said. “It has been such an emotional ride for us and we are still working our way through it but I truly believe that God has walked with us each day.”
“Two days before the fire, I took to my knees praying for my family’s protection,” Joyce Moler said. “I couldn’t explain the heavy feeling that came over me, perhaps it was intuition, but all I knew to do was pray for a hedge of protection around those I loved. And that is just what He did.”
The Molers are hoping to relocate to Callisburg so Nathan and Jeremy can return to the Callisburg schools they love. A lack of a steady income right now may make it difficult to find a home but they believe God will provide and they will be all right.
“I may have to rename the business the Phoenix Auction House and hopefully we can rise from the ashes,” Joyce smiled through her tears.
Whatever their future holds, Steve and Joyce Moler have their faith, love and the support of their family and friends as they work to get past this tragic event.
“Everyone has their 15 minutes of fame but I sure didn’t want this,” Joyce Moler said. “I would have just as soon had someone call me with a wonderful estate sale to do.”
Anyone with a estate sale, garage sale or auction item, can contact Joyce Moler at (903) 818 2651 and help make the phoenix rise for the Molers.