By Bruce Garner
On the morning of November 26, 2014–the day before Thanksgiving–fire raced through a home at 220 Houser Street. The three children living there, Rebecca (10), Haley (9) and Mark (8), escaped the fire with minor injuries. Tragically, both of their parents, Candy and Randall Lockhart, did not get out. Despite heroic efforts by Chattanooga (TN) firefighters to get them out of the burning structure, both parents succumbed to their severe injuries.
The children are now living with their grandparents, Susan and Gary Patterson. When word spread about this tragedy, the community rallied to support this family. The Chattanooga Firefighters Association, Local 820 set up an account at First Tennessee Bank to collect cash donations. This morning, Local 820 president Jack Thompson announced that a total of $41,900 has been raised for this family. Thompson presented a check for $5,900 to the Patterson’s to help with their added expenses. The remaining $36,000 will be divided into three educational trusts for the children to help them attend college.
Thompson thanked Pastor Ray Williams and the One Accord Community Church for spearheading a drive to collect clothes and other necessities, and off-duty firefighters for doing some repair and renovation work on the grandparents’ house to accommodate the addition of the three children. Most of all, Thompson said he wanted to thank the community at large. “We are here to offer our gratitude and appreciation to the citizens of our great city for their amazing generosity.”
After receiving the check, an emotional grandfather, surrounded by his grandchildren, offered his own thanks to the firefighters and everyone who helped in some way. “We’re grateful to the firefighters who risked their lives trying to save our daughter and son-in-law,” said Patterson, adding that he and his wife are so grateful for the support they have received from fire and police, Red Bank Elementary and the whole community.
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