BOULDER COUNTY, Colorado — The videos of the flames are hard to watch. The fire took everything from Deborah Hammock and her family.
"That’s our house with the roof collapsed in," Hammock said, watching the video her neighbor took as the flames overtook the home in Boulder County just off Highway 93.
Her house was one of the first to burn just down the street from where the fire started. Nearly 1,000 others would soon follow.
"It made a knot in my stomach and in my heart. Like a fist. Just tears," Hammock said. "That’s when I thought, 'This is awful. How are we going to recover from this?"
Hammock has taught special education and social studies at Centaurus High School for 16 years. Now her students are teaching her about recovery.
After a friend started a GoFundMe for a couple of teachers at the school who lost their homes, students, alums and other teachers started donating. $5 from some, $10 from others. Nothing big. Anything to help a teacher get back on her feet.
"What people give is what they can give. And sometimes $10 is more valuable than $1,000 if you look at the giver and consider what people are able to give. It doesn’t matter how much. It’s the thought and the heart," Hammock said. "I keep saying we are the luckiest of the thousand families. I never thought that something so terrible would also be so beautiful."
Hammock’s house was built during the Civil War and was an old stagecoach stop. It was one of the oldest buildings to be continually occupied in Boulder County.
School starts again Wednesday. Hammock will be there.
"I would have never expected that on the day we left," Hammock said. "I would have never expected that I would think in a few days, wow, people are beautiful and each little joy is so important."
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