August 15, 2018
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Three Maine Special Olympians return home to find house burned, pets lost

Courtesy Special Olympics | BDN
Courtesy Special Olympics | BDN
Gracie, Vincent and Valerie Giles of Boothbay returned home from the Special Olympics earlier this week to find their family's home had burned down.
By Beth Brogan, BDN Staff

Three athletes who competed this week in the Special Olympics at Sugarloaf Mountain returned to their Boothbay home on Tuesday to find the structure, and their pets, lost to a fire.

Gracie Giles, 14, Vincent Giles, 15, and Valerie Giles, 16, competed in slalom events beginning on Sunday.

[Olympics spirit on display during Winter Games at Sugarloaf]

But on Tuesday morning, their coach and special education teacher, Toby LeConte, received a phone call telling her the home and the family’s pets — two dogs and three cats — were gone.

Firefighters from four communities battled the blaze at 12 Matthews Road early Tuesday morning, with five residents who were home at the time escaping safely, the Boothbay Register reported.

LeConte said other coaches from the Special Olympics sent sweatshirts and pajama bottoms, and teammates from when Natalie Giles competed in the National Games when she was 9 called to see what they could send.

“I said colorful socks,” LeConte said. “Something you’d wear yourself.”

This year, Gracie Giles competed in giant slalom events, earning two fifth-place ribbons, according to a release from Special Olympics. She then won a gold medal in the giant slalom.

Vincent Giles earned a bronze medal in the Super G, a fifth-place ribbon in the slalom and a gold medal in the giant slalom.

Valerie Giles won a fourth-place ribbon for slalom, and two fifth-place ribbons for the giant slalom and Super G.

The children are staying with LeConte until the family finds a place to stay long-term.

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