Set out to serve on their spring break, 40 children and teenagers traveled 10 hours from Tennessee to Oklahoma to help a Luther family who lost everything in a fatal fire.
On Monday, the students tossed every piece of the demolished home out by hand. The home’s owner, Juanita Taylor said she watched it fall last week.
“It was kind of renewing to think, ‘OK, all of the devastation is going to leave.’ We’ve had a lot of tragedy in the last year,” Taylor told News 9.
Just months before the fire, the Taylors lost their son as a result of a car crash on the Turner Turnpike. In December 2016, their home in Luther caught fire. Taylor's husband of almost 28 years, didn't make it out.
“I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone and call him when something good happens or when something bad happens,” she said.
After the fire destroyed the home, Taylor said they searched several times for anything salvageable, and she thought the cash they had kept in the home was long gone.
“There was so much dirt and there’s all the ashes from everything that it burnt, so it was really hard to see things,” said volunteer Libby Rominger.
But in the piles of rubble, the 12-year-old made an incredible discovery on Monday.
The money was all there, completely untouched, with not a single singe. Buried under all the bad, there was a little bit of hope for Taylor's family. Someone just had to find it.
“When we go through tragedy, we just have to look for the good,” said Taylor.
This was just the beginning of the work by the students. They'll be in Luther, volunteering for three more days and working with the Luther Community Service Center.