Former Reinhardt College President Dr. Floyd Falany and his wife, Fay, of Salacoa Valley have finally moved into a new house after a tragedy destroyed their home.
The Falanys' home was destroyed by fire after being struck by lightning in a severe storm that swept across Cherokee on Aug. 20.
The Falanys decided to rebuild the home on the same foundation.
The 3,000 square-feet home is a two bedroom, two bathroom, "old-fashioned Florida Cracker house" with a 40-foot front porch covered with a shed. The style, Falany added, resembles a log cabin.
Mrs. Falany said she fell in love with the "Cracker-style" home after seeing one in South Georgia.
"I've always liked how Cracker houses looked," she added.
Falany said he and his wife thought it would be wise to downsize their new home when rebuilding it.
"We wanted to make the rooms bigger and bathrooms bigger," he added.
Falany served as Reinhardt's president from 1984 to 1999, and Mrs. Falany was known as the Waleska college's "First Lady" during his tenure. The couple lived on the campus for 25 years while Falany served as dean and president.
The college's performing arts center was named in their honor.
The couple was headed back home from Cartersville when the fire began. Falany said his son-in-law, who lives nearby, was the first to spot the blaze and immediately called for assistance.
The previous 4,500 square-foot home, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home suffered heavy smoke, heat and water damage throughout.
Most of their belongings were destroyed as well.
"(Even) if it didn't burn, you can't get the smoke and water out," he said of the damage. "It's as great as the fire."
Mrs. Falany was able to retrieve her mother's rings, and Falany said a file cabinet and its contents were spared.
His mementos related to his tenure at Reinhardt were in the basement, which was flooded with water.
Along with Reinhardt mementos, Falany said the basement also housed nearly 150 recognitions he'd received over the course of his life as well as his dissertation and his doctoral robe.
One memento Falany said he was unable to find was a medallion worn by former Reinhardt president the late Dr. Roland Burgess.
The Falanys called upon Holly Springs-based Southeast Restoration Group to rebuild their home.
Benny Carter, its business development director, said his company began work on the new home on Sept. 15.
"It was a really good turnaround," he said.
While the Falanys don't yet have much furniture in their new home, they were able to salvage their antique bedroom furniture.
Falany said the fire was very distressing to his two older grandchildren. They refused to visit the site of the destruction.
"It's trauma to see things go up in smoke," he said.
Falany said the "community came out of the woodwork" to help him and his wife get back on his feet.
On one workday for the house, he said there were close to 25 people who showed up to help.
"We are blessed people," he said, adding he wanted to praise Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services and other responders for their efforts to save belongings from the house. "They did everything in the world to make us comfortable."
The Falanys said they are grateful for how the community responded.
"We never knew we had so many friends," he said.