Natchez educators rally around teacher who lost home in Friday night fire

Natchez educators rally around teacher who lost home in Friday night fire
(Source: AP)

NATCHEZ, Miss. (WLBT) - An elementary school principal in Natchez is rallying her fellow educators to help one of their own.

La’Toya Hammett, the principal at Susie B. West Elementary, has set up a GoFundMe page for Diane Verucchi and her children, who lost their home in a devastating fire Friday night.

“I’ve been working all morning since I found out, so people in our community and school family can reach out to her with donations,” Hammett said.

Verucchi is a kindergarten teacher at the school. Her eight-year-old son is a second-grader there.

On Friday, Verucchi was trying using a generator to keep her and her family warm when tragedy struck.

Because of the generator, the home caught fire and was significantly damaged, Hammett explained.

Verucchi’s car was also destroyed in the blaze.

“I got the phone call at about 12 a.m. One of her co-teachers called me because (Verucchi) couldn’t get to my number,” Hammett explained. “I called the superintendent and the teachers to try to ban together.”

The principal said fund-raising efforts are somewhat difficult due to the ice storm, but armed with her smart phone, she was undeterred.

“I’m trying to make sure I do whatever I can to help a fellow educator, (and) basically a family member,” Hammett said. “We all work together as a family at West Elementary.”

No injuries were reported and Verucchi and her children are staying at a friend’s home.

Hammett is hoping to raise $5,000 through a GoFundMe site.

Early Saturday afternoon, more than $1,600 had been raised.

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