Community continues to rally for JC teacher who lost home in Monday fire

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Jul 18, 2019 at 10:11 PM

Friends of Woodland Elementary School’s beloved physical education teacher, Coach Tiffany Collins, have a message for the Johnson City community:

“If you ever find yourself doubting if people in this world care for anything (or) anyone other than themselves, then you need to read” the recent updates on a GoFundMe page set up to help Collins and her family pick up the pieces after their home was destroyed by fire early Monday.

Joe Crabtree, organizer of the GoFundMe drive and a member of the Johnson City Education Association, wrote on Tuesday that Collins’ friends and fellow teachers contacted the association around noon on Monday to see if there were any way they could help.

With Collins’ permission, the GoFundme page went live around 2 p.m. that day with a goal of raising $5,000. “Links to the page went out across all social media platforms possible. The efforts to raise money for Coach Collins began trending everywhere,” Crabtree wrote. “The news media, WJHL, WCYB and the Johnson City Press picked up the story and the fundraising efforts then added the link to their pages.” And by 6 p.m. Monday evening, “a mere 4 hours into the fundraising, we had met the $5,000 goal.”

And it did not end there. Crabtree shared that over the next 24 hours, “members of the Johnson City community leaped to their feet and quickly began making more and more donations. They poured in from teachers, parents, former students, community leaders, and many others. We were on a fast-moving train taking us on this unbelievable journey. We were absolutely blown away by the responses.” At 8 p.m. Tuesday, the donations had climbed to $11,000 and at 9 p.m. Thursday the total was at more than $15,000.

Still more, Crabtree wrote, community members and organizations have also reached out with offers to donate furniture and household items while others are planning fundraising events. And so that 100 percent of all donations made on the GoFundMe page will go directly to the family, the JCEA has stepped up to cover the transfer fees on the fundraising page and to keep the online drive going through Monday, July 22.

On Thursday, Collins responded with an update on her own on the GoFundMe page: “I’m immeasurably humbled at the outpouring of love and support my family and I are being shown during this difficult time of great loss,” she wrote. “Thank you JCEA and members for organizing and facilitating the GoFundMe project. This immense, magical blessing is possible because of each and every one of you.

“To everyone that donated or posted uplifting words, you have touched my heart more than you’ll ever know. The funds raised by the hands of your generosity will be utilized to clean up and demolish the remaining skeleton of the old house and help my family create another home. My heart continuously smiles at how our strong community bands together and makes the seemingly impossible possible.”

“My family and I have had every single (one) of our needs met since the moment this event started. We are continuously uplifted and feel the magnitude of blessings embracing us every moment of the day. For that sense of security and resolve during this time of loss is unexplainable. Your compassion, kindness and positivity have transformed our tragedy into a perspective of pure compassion and empathy. I will forever be grateful for your hand up creates an opportunity to look ahead at a stable, secure future.”

Online donation to help Collins and her family may be made at the “Beloved Johnson City Teachers Loses Home in Fire” GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/f/beloved-johnson-city-teacher-loses-home-in-fire.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538, [email protected] or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.

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