Trinity University professor raises money to help duplex fire victims

Lamar Elementary students get helping hand from school, community

SAN ANTONIO – A West Side family of six that was running out of options after it lost everything in a fire got a helping hand Monday, thanks to the generosity of strangers.

Devyn Dill and her family were among 17 people displaced by a duplex fire early Thursday on North Nueces at West Travis streets.

Dill said she's had to work two jobs since her husband got injured two years ago and couldn't work anymore.

After losing most of their belongings in the fire, Dill thought she, her husband and four children would have to live out of their van.

But that all changed Monday.

Lamar Elementary, where Dill's children attend school, presented the family with $3,700.

The money was raised in a fundraiser spearheaded by Trinity University associate education professor Pat Norman, whose students train at the school.

Norman said when she found out who lived in the duplex, she knew she had to help.

"So faculty, staff, even undergraduate students, who themselves don't have a lot of money, have all contributed," Norman said.

Dill said she can't believe the gifts her family received.

"Being that it's just four kids out of a whole school means the world to me," she said. "It's really restored my faith in humanity, that there are good people out there."

The money will help the Dills with a deposit and their first month's rent for a home.

Lamar Elementary Principal Brian Sparks said the campus community also donated so many items, donation boxes fill the school secretary's garage.

"I was shocked, I was shocked to see how much money came in, how many resources came in," Sparks said.

The fundraiser also helped another family who was displaced in the fire and whose children attend Lamar Elementary.

The school is still accepting donations for the families.

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