BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) - It was a bittersweet moving day for the Conti family of Bastrop County.
"We had a really good plan of rebuilding here," said Carl Conti, whose family's home in the community of Paige was among the 1,700 destroyed by the fires that started on Labor Day weekend 2011. "We planned on being here long term."
But plans change. Sometimes in a devastating way. With the help of Austin Disaster Relief Network volunteers, they forged on after the fire. They turned what the fire left -- a garage -- into a four bedroom home for their family of seven.
"People that we didn't even know came and helped build this thing, because of a tragedy," said Carl's wife, Maggie. "It was great. That's what I call this house -- a house that love put together."
Carl agreed: "We had a good time here, and we definitely bonded in this house after the fire."
That family bond has shown Carl, Maggie and their four children that anything is possible. So once again they're working together, taking a chance and starting a new journey.
Carl plans to go to nursing school. It is something he has wanted to do for a decade. So they're leaving Bastrop County and starting over in Austin.
"The fire kind of took me off my dead-end path I was on and gave me the momentum and incentive to get back on the path I was wanting to be on," Carl said.
Added Maggie: "It got us moving in a direction that I don't think either one of us thought was even possible."
They load all they own in this van. They will be renting an apartment in South Austin while Carl goes to school.
"We can look back and say that was the most terrible thing that ever happened to us," Maggie said. But it was also one of the best things that ever happened to us, too."
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