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The Phoenix Project: Our Teacher's Story

About four years ago, I met a woman who was the substitute teacher in one of the other first grade classrooms at my school. I admired the way she spoke to the children, I could tell she was passionate about education, and it was obvious she knew what she was doing.

Fast forward about two years: I decided I wanted to open up a preschool, and she was one of the first few people I told. I knew she would get it. Not only did I tell her about my plan, but I told her that I wanted/needed her to come with me! Over the next several months, she completely supported my dreams and helped in so many ways.

Now it's my turn to help make her dreams come true by rebuilding her home.

This is her story (as told by me):

On June 11, 2014, my dear friend Terry Ebert's life changed drastically.

It was on that June afternoon that Terry was at the library when she received a phone call. Her neighbor was calling to tell her that her house was on fire. Frantic, Terry jumped in her car and raced home. The first thought on her mind was that her three dogs (and only living family members) were in the house. When she arrived home, the front of her yard was full of people, lights, and emergency vehicles. She learned that somehow, something on her stove caught fire which quickly spread throughout her kitchen, dining room, and laundry room area. The rest of the house suffered horrible smoke damage. Perhaps the worst news of all for Terry was that her dog, Amos, did not survive the fire and smoke. He had been trapped in the main part of the house while the other two managed to run to the back. This was the home that she grew up in with her parents and her brother. Unfortunately, all of them have passed away, but their memories live on in that house. Terry has become like family to me. As soon as I heard about her house fire, I opened my house to her, and she moved in with my family. She longs to be in her home, however, and spends the majority of her time in that half-burnt house. The problem with this is that she has no functioning heat or even electricity, many walls are torn down to the studs, and remnants of smoke cover most of the inside.

Terry calls the project of rebuilding her home The Phoenix Project and says, "I dream that, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, my house can be restored enough to once again become my home."

We are trying to raise money to be able to help get Ms. Terry back in her home.

Terry is so much more than an employee to us. She is our family, she is a friend, she is like another grandparent to my children. She is a huge supporter of our school. She works tirelessly in her classroom for her students. Would you believe me if I told you she worked in her classroom throughout the night until 6 AM one time (or two or three?). I told you she works tirelessly! She does not let her circumstances get her down, even when no one would blame her if she did. She is really amazing. I know I'm speaking for several other people when I say these things.

'Tis the season for giving, and I am hoping that some of you can help us help our beloved teacher. Terry is a strong woman who would never ask anyone for help, so we are doing it for her. We have set up a GoFundMe account here: We will take advice, manual labor, good vibes, and prayers, too!

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