Posted on Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Imagine if a fire breaks out inside your home while you’re still in it. Smoke is everywhere and the temperature is rising…quickly. What would you do?

That’s the situation MECC English professor Brandi Martinez and her daughter, Wintress, were confronted with a little over a week ago. Martinez says both she and her daughter were able to escape the flames unharmed. But, the finality of losing cherished personal effects, including some things given to her by her grandmother, is difficult to accept.

“They weren’t even expensive. These things represented my grandmother, so it’s those things that really kind of get me when I think about it,” Martinez said.

The fire, the cause of which has yet to be determined, destroyed the family’s home in Big Stone Gap. So far, more than $2,500 has been raised through the Mountain Empire Community College Foundation to help Martinez and her daughter rebuild their lives.

“It’s amazing how much everybody has been so supportive,” Martinez observed.

It’s believed many of the donations that have been made so far have come from faculty and staff members at MECC. That comes as no surprise to President Kristen Westover.

“Our employees are a family. When one of our employees is faced with a hardship, we band together to help one another.”

If you would like to help, simply click here.'

Craig Butterworth

A native of Richmond, Craig Butterworth is an award-winning broadcast journalist and communications professional. He has worked as a spokesperson, staff writer and editor for a variety of non-profit and for-profit organizations throughout the Richmond area.

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