Charles the pig inspires while his family rebuilds

One year later, this pig and his family continue to rebuild after a miracle during the wildfire.

Just outside of Gatlinburg, right off the Spur, you'll find the Holmes family.

There's Robert and Amy, the patriarchs, and their three kids. Nathan is the oldest at 19-years-old. He lives away from home. Andrea is 16 and the youngest, Wyatt, is 2-years-old.

And then of course, there's Charles.

He's a pig.

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"He's really part of the family," said Robert.

Charles waits patiently to be fed.

If you took a look at Charles today, you'd think he was just an ordinary pig: tough exterior, loves to eat, the usual pig things.

That couldn't be further from the truth.

One year ago, Charles was surrounded by fire and flames. As the wildfire in Gatlinburg inched closer and closer, Charles buried himself in the mud, fighting the flames and certain death.

This is how the Holmes family's neighbor found Charles the Pig a day after the deadly wildfires broke out. He survived by burrowing into the mud. (Photo courtesy: Rob Holmes)

"They said a human nor animal could of survived that," Rob said, "and here's Charles."

STORY: Miracle pig survives fire

The story of this pig who prospered has served as a rallying point for so many who suffered through the fires. Rob and Amy captured the moment in a book, "The Miraculous Story of Charles the Pig," written and illustrated by the two.

The front cover of the Holmes' book, "The Miraculous Story of Charles the Pig."

The book has brought the story of this pig far beyond their corner of East Tennessee. The family has sold a copy in nearly every state in the country.

"He has followers all over the world," Rob reflected. "I just got an order from Switzerland, I've had calls from Germany, from Canada, we even sent a book to Japan."

If you'd like to purchase the book or stuffed animal of Charles, you can visit HERE.

The money earned from book and merchandise sales goes straight to the family and their funds to build a new home. The Holmes have raised about $60,000 so far, but need about $60,000 more to reach their goals.

If you'd like to donate directly to the family, you can visit their GoFundMe page HERE.

With the money made from the "Charles the Pig" merchandise, the Holmes family has started to rebuild their home on the same spot as before the wildfire.
With the money made from the "Charles the Pig" merchandise, the Holmes family has started to rebuild their home on the same spot as before the wildfire.

With the help of a family friend, the Holmes family is rebuilding their home on the very same ground it stood before. The foundation and skeleton of the house is set, Rob hopes to be finished by Easter of 2018. Until then, the family lives in a trailer next on the property. Of course, Charles is right next door.

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After everything that happened on the night of Nov. 28, 2016, the family doesn't want Charles to be too far from them. In their most difficult night, one of the toughest decisions was leaving the pig behind. The family had to run from the fire, they had no time to carry a 200 pound pig, all they could do was open the pen.

"It was like he was telling me, 'Dad, go. I'll be alright,'" Robert Holmes said.

Amy said she thinks Charles knew what was going on, he knew what he had to do.

"Animals are a lot smarter than we give them credit for, that night might not be one that anyone will forget, but it's one he forgave," she said.

As a token of appreciation for the money Charles has helped the family raise and the hope he gave them after the fires, Rob said they are building the pig his own mini-home, equipped with heat and air conditioning.

More Coverage

Smokies Strong:Special Section
What we knew then: The 1st week of wildfire coverage
Smokies Stronger: Sevier County one year later
True Volunteers: Stories of heroism and generosity from the wildfires
When disaster struck Sevier Co., Dolly and the My People Fund stepped in to help