HERMISTON - Tim and Kimberlee Owens never will forget the night a drunk driver crashed through their sons' bedroom wall.
The couple also won't forget the people who gathered Wednesday to put their house back together for free.
The saga started as the silence was shattered just before midnight Dec. 30. The couple jolted awake as a loud screeching sound filled the house.
"It sounded forever long," said Tim, "the screeching - the bang."
A drunk driver had just crashed his pickup into their house at 328 S.W. Shea Drive. Tim threw on some clothes and ran for the front door. As he hurried out, he could see the back end of the vehicle protruding from his home.
Kimberlee initially thought she was dreaming, but sprang out of bed and stumbled after her husband.
"I was stunned at that point," she said.
Neighbors started to gather and a police cruiser arrived at the scene within minutes.
The couple's immediate reaction was one of intense relief that their two sons, Brandon, 7, and Joshua, 8, and their 12-year-old daughter, Alissa, were away for the night - a last-minute decision. When the truck punched through the wall, it crumpled the boys' bunkbed frame and pushed it into the closet.
"We feel blessed that the kids weren't here," Kimberlee said.
The driver, Travis Hamman, 26, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless endangerment and driving while suspended. He was lodged in the Umatilla County Jail.
"The police investigation showed that Mr. Hamman was at least two times the legal limit of blood alcohol content," said Lt. Jason Edmiston of the Hermiston Police Department.
As the adrenaline rush started to subside, the Owens realized the family had escaped tragedy.
Days later, the relief turned to panic when Tim and Kimberlee learned that neither they nor the driver had insurance coverage to repair their crippled house. The Owens, in the midst of buying the home from a family member, discovered that coverage had lapsed.
"We didn't know how we would pay for the repairs," Kimberlee said.
Seeking relaxation and escape, the family headed to the Hermiston Skate Center for some roller skating last Wednesday. There, they chatted with owner George Cogswell, who reacted with concern when he heard the family would be stuck with a large repair bill.
Cogswell called The Home Depot and asked if the company would help.
"He just wanted to help them, so he reached out to us," said Chanta Rosenstock, Home Depot's assistant operations manager.
The store donated $1,500 in supplies and posted photos of the damage at its Pro Desk, frequented by professional contractors. The photo drew offers to help.
Findley Construction owners, Brandon and Russell Findley, offered to oversee the construction. Another contractor, Steve Hoffman, did an inspection and made a list of needed materials. Cost Less Carpet offered carpet. Around 15 employees of The Home Depot volunteered their time, along with friends, family and some of Tim and Kimberlee's co-workers at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center.
J-M Manufacturing, where Tim's dad Brian Owens works, donated a gift card.
Wednesday morning, the home morphed into a construction site. Volunteers ripped off the damaged siding and tore into the floor, and a few hours later, the demolition had yielded a huge pile of broken boards, chunks of insulation and wrecked carpet.
As the workers awaited a required inspection before proceeding, The Home Depot Store Manager Brian Harris warmed his hands over a propane heater. He said he The Home Depot just did the natural thing.
"We had the resources to pool together so we helped them out," Harris said. "We're a big company, but we want to have a hometown feel."
Harold Snyder, Kimberlee's brother, said the family is overwhelmed by the construction help.
"It's pretty amazing that people would step up and take care of them like this," Snyder said.