By Ralphine Major

The month of November has been a stark reminder. Television and newspaper accounts have covered extensively the progress since wildfires ravaged Gatlinburg one year ago. Many have rebuilt homes and businesses; others have not. The fires left heartbreak and massive destruction and claimed fourteen lives. In the following months, there were countless stories of survival and heroism.

At the Grainger County Tomato Festival this year, we met one of the survivors of the fire, a pet pig named Charles. On our way into the building one morning, we stopped to see Charles and learned about his story of survival. His family suffered great loss in the fire. Though the pet pig suffered burns, he survived by covering himself with mud. His story is told in a book titled “The Miraculous Story of Charles the Pig,” and he even has his own Facebook page.

The story of Charles is so touching. It is truly inspiring what we can learn about animal instincts and the will to survive through “Charles the Pig.” We wish Charles and his family all the best moving forward.