The Egan family were unable to save anything from the destructive fire that took their home at Laurel Chase in August just before their three sons returned to college. Tim and Erin Egan and their sons, Peter, Parker and Sean have found a deeper satisfaction in the simple life despite the loss of all material possessions.
Two of the Egan boys were in the home when the fire started and ran out barefoot when they were alerted to the situation. Tim and Erin arrived to find their home in flames.
"Tim and I stood in front of our home and watched it burned down.. The fire chief said we had 15 minutes to go into the garage and get whatever we could... We saw our three boys and the rest of our family across the street- that's all we needed," said Erin Egan.
The Egan family has been taught the simplicity of life. Even though the furniture, clothes, and family photo albums with childhood memories, graduations, and family celebrations were lost, the Egans are grateful that they have each other.
"God spared my children... It changes your perspective very quickly. We don't have materials but it does not matter," said Egan.
Sean and Parker, both 19, are taking classes at Ocean County College, while Peter, 22, attends Ramapo College of New Jersey. All three are working.
Community members, church, school and work friends, and family have come to their aid with exuberance. Family friend, Shelley Licknack organized multiple fundraisers and has a PayPal account for donations to be made at anytime. She knows that continued support is still needed for the family.
"We can't forget that they are still living it every day," said Licknack. "Imagine: You close your eyes for ten seconds and when you open them again, you have nothing."
Egan believes that someone else has also been looking out for her family.
"God opened doors," said Egan. "God is giving strength and lifts us up every day."
After a few nights of sleeping in various family's and friend's homes, they found a mother-daughter home to rent.
"It's small, but we have everything we need," said Egan, grateful to have her whole family sleeping under one roof again.
The new Egan family motto is: "The most important thing is not things."
Licknack recalls asking the boys what they wanted instead of what they needed, like video games or game players, their reply: "That's not our priority."