Community support “overwhelming” after teacher loses home

HOXIE, Ark. (KAIT) – The Hoxie School District and the community came together to help a school employee who lost everything in a house fire.

On the morning of Friday, September 16, Dean of Students Randy Puckett received a call that no one wanted to receive.

“I left my house at about 6:40, got here to school, got on my bus route and got off, and got a message on my bus route that my house was on fire. I finished my bus route and then went to house,” he said.

Randy explained when he arrived at the scene of his burning home, he knew it would be a significant loss.

“They had pretty much knocked down the flames, but one half of the house was burned for sure, and I didn’t know what the other half looked like,” he recalled.

When Randy found out his home was going to be a total loss, the community jumped in, ready to help.

The dean has served in various roles at Hoxie for 12 years, but he has spent almost 30 years as an educator.

A GoFundMe was set up by Randy’s daughter-in-law, Kim James Puckett, for $4,000 and is now close to that goal.

However, that is not the only thing the community has done to benefit Mr. Puckett.

“Buckets for Puckett” is a volleyball services competition held on Thursday, September 22nd before a senior varsity volleyball game, with all proceeds going back to help Randy with the costs of getting back on his feet.

Kim said as a family, they are speechless for all the help they have received.

“Whether you had him as a basketball coach in previous years or as a teacher, for those students to come back and show him so much love, the support I know has been a great blessing to him,” she said.

Kim added that the situation could have turned out much worse than it did, but she knew someone was watching Randy and had a plan.

“We just want to thank God for keeping His protection over Randy. We definitely want to say thank you to New Life Cathedral, and our church family, for the outpouring of their prayers, love and support. It’s been so overwhelming,” she said.

Randy plans to buy a new house in the near future.