Community support ‘overwhelming’ after teacher loses home

HOXIE, Ark. (KAIT) – The Hoxie School District and community have come together to help a school employee who lost everything in a house fire.

On the morning of Friday, September 16, Dean of Students Randy Paquette got a call that no one wanted to receive.

“I left my house at about 6:40, went to school here, got on the bus route and took off, and got a message on the bus route that my house was on fire. I finished the bus route, and then went home.”

Randy explained that when he arrived at the location of his burning house, he knew it would be a great loss.

“They really did put the flames down pretty much,” he recalls, “but half of the house was definitely on fire, and I didn’t know what the other half looked like.”

When Randy found out that his house would be a complete loss, the community jumped in, ready to help.

The dean worked in various positions at Hoxie for 12 years, but spent nearly 30 years as a teacher.

GoFundMe was set up by Randy’s daughter-in-law, Kim James Paquette, for $4,000 and is now close to that goal.

However, that’s not the only thing the community has done for Mr. Paquette.

Buckets for Puckett is a volleyball dispatch competition that takes place Thursday, September 22 before a big volleyball game, with all proceeds going back to help Randy with the expenses of getting back on his feet again.”

Kim said as a family, they are speechless for all the help they received.

“Whether I’ve hosted him as a basketball coach in previous years or as a teacher, for these students to come back and show him so much love, the support I know has been a great blessing to him,” she said.

Kim added that the situation could have turned out to be much worse than what happened, but she knew someone was watching Randy and had a plan.

“We just want to thank God for maintaining his hedge to protect Randy. We definitely want to say thank you to New Life Cathedral, and to our church family, for stepping up with their prayers, love, and support,” she said.

Randy plans to buy a new home in the near future.

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