September 26, 2021

We Lost Everything

Dear Editor,

On April 15, 2011 my families home on hwy 34 was struck by lightning. Our home burned to the ground. We lost everything we owned. No one in Heard county not even my neighbors came to check on me, my wife and two children. It’s been nearly five months and still not a single inquiry to our well being. We lived in Heard for seven years. That being said I hope that the disaster relief program does more for other people in the community than we received.

Matt Goddard




  1. Matt, Let me begin by saying that I am Thankful for you, that you and your family are O.K. and Alive. If I remember hearing correctly, you had 2 family pets at home during this tragedy. I do apologize for not knowing if they survived or not, if not , I am sure they are missed by all of your family. I am sorry that you felt no compassion from your neighbors and community, although it was a neighbor that called the fire in. I also know of the horrifying concern neighbors, friends and emergency personnel were having at the thought that your entire family was in the home since all your vehicles were present at the residence due to you and your family being out of town at the time. I can almost be called a life-long resident of the county and do know there are many hearts that are full of compassion and care embedded in all the communities. I myself have been through a tragic event and saw such a great out-pouring of Love that it was at times overwhelming. I have seen people here help neighbor and strangers alike. I hope your needs have been met and if not wish you would post them here and lets see if the visitors of the site can help gather up what you need. Have you rebuilt? I am not aware of a county disaster relief program, but this might would be a very good reason to spearhead a community ran disaster relief program. We are a small area, but I do not think one Heard County resident would want any other to feel unneeded or unloved. I am sorry for the loss of your home, your belongings and I am sure memories….But if you have your family with you, you have all that you need. From the other end of 34.

    • Matt Goddard says

      My family and I are doing ok now. I am thankful for the person who called in the fire, a good friend who came at midnight and the fireman who came to try and put the fire out that night. As far as a relief program goes there was a section on heard counties website that listed disaster relief. My family has since moved back to Coweta county into a new home. Thanks to Newnan Presbyterian Preschool for gathering clothes, toys and monetary gifts. Thanks to the American Red Cross called by a close friend from the Newnan fire department, for giving us shelter and support the days following the fire. People don’t realize how horrific it can be until it happens to you. Also our dogs are ok they were hiding in the woods.

  2. Tears flow as I read your tragic story. I am so sorry to hear those words of dispair to think no one cares. Had I known or even heard about your fire, I would have come to help you and your family. I am exstadic to hear everyone is ok, including the dogs. I hope life and God blesses you and your family throughout the years to come. Be safe.

  3. Joanna Brown says

    April 15, 2011 was a night I will not forget as long as I live. I live off highway 34 and have ridden that highway hundereds of times. As I was coming home form the local rodeo, I was simply texting someone and had absolutely no reason to look up but I did. As I did I saw something that has stuck with me since; I had never seen a fire before but I knew what I needed to do. My mom did not even notice as I began to tell her to stop, turn around and I called 911. I was so shaken I could not even remember my name and number for the call in. We turned around and waited for the fire fighters, which seemed like forever, wishing we coudl do more but we were just two women. I was so suprised that no one was pulling over, seeing, or even coming out of their homes. I had prayed that the family was not home and that God would help them after. I wanted to know more and wanted to help them even more but I NEVER heard or saw anything about the fire in the papers. I was heartbroken and I wondered about that family everytime I pass where the house once lay. You and your family have been in my prayers since and they will continue to be. I would love to help you even more if there is absolutely anything, please do not hesitate to contact me. My email is I hope to hear from you soon and that God blesses you and your family because I cannot imagine how hard it may be.
    Joanna Brown

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