FLORESVILLE, Texas – The sounds of silence filled the air at Jerry Hogue’s Floresville home, which was once filled with music and laughter.
The home on F Street began to burn Saturday while the beloved band leader was out of town celebrating the new year.
He returned immediately after a neighbor told him about the fire, but the home was destroyed and nearly everything inside it was lost, including valuable musical instruments and sheet music.
"Inside that door is a $2,500 trumpet that nobody makes anymore. It's in little pieces," Hogue said as the Wilson County arson team completed its sweep of the rubble.
The home's roof continued to collapse, making a safe tour impossible, but the remnants of the home were visible from the street. It was burned through and through.
Hogue lost his clothes, furniture, photographs of family members and dozens of musical instruments that will be hard to replace.
But even as the smoke was still curling above the pile of ashes, his friends in the community had opened a GoFundMe account to raise money to keep him from being homeless.
Members of his band, the County Line Community Band, said they created the account because Hogue was the kind of man who would give his last $20 to someone who needed it.
That sort of good karma is being paid back, apparently, because in two days, the fund reached in excess of $12,000.
Hogue, who also works proofreading ads for the Wilson County News, is looking on the bright side.
"I was thinking five or six months ago that it's way past time that you downsized. Well, now Ursula, it's downsized," he said.
He said several friends in Floresville have offered him apartments or studios to live in while he sorts out his new life without musical instruments, a change of clothes and a house.