FANNIN COUNTY, Ga. - The Fannin County High School wrestling coach and his family had to run for their lives as a fire tore through their home, destroying everything, on Monday morning. Now, the community is stepping in to make sure they don't go without.
"It's an amazing community," said Coach Chuck Patterson. "We're blessed to be here."
Patterson said he and his wife heard strange noises and smelled smoke around 1:30 a.m. They went to investigate and saw flames pouring into the home from outside. They grabbed their two young sons and ran out of the house.
"When you have things like this, it reminds you what's really important," said Patterson.
Everything, including their cars, phones and family memories were destroyed. Hours after the flames were out, fellow coaches were visiting the family with clothes and supplies.
"We consider Fannin to be family and that's exactly what happened," said David Henson, the Fannin County High School Athletic Director.
Students even stopped to drop off supplies too. "He wasn't excited at first because he was like, 'Well why did you guys miss practice?'" said junior wrestler Dakota Adams. "'Well because we love you coach! Because you're family,'" said Adams. "We just let him know that our love is there for him and he's accepted."
All this love for a coach who pours his heart into his team and his community. A fund was set up to help the family, and donations are pouring in. You can donate too by calling the United Community Bank in Fannin County at (706) 632-6000 and asking for the "Chuck Patterson Benefit Fund."
"A lot of people who go through this don't have the support we have," said the coach in awe of all the calls and donations they've received in less than 24 hours. "It's been really incredible. It's just amazing," said Patterson.