Two years after leaving their Virginia home without a plan, just a want to help, a family is grateful for the “Tennessee family” they met while volunteering.
The Sevier County wildfires in November 2016 devastated families, businesses, and beyond. States away, a six-hour drive to be exact, Kristan and Reggie Dollar wanted to help any way they could.
So, they started driving.
“We hauled grain, and hay and shavings, wound care and shavings, when we got down there and there was no horses to tend to at the time…. We said, ‘Okay, well the only other option is we gotta go help people ,” said Kristan Dollar.
Kristan, Reggie, and their children brought a trailer of donations from their Augusta County, Virginia community. They didn’t know how they could help, at the time, but went straight to the Rocky Top Sports World shelter.
As Reggie puts it, “We found Rocky Top.”
At the shelter, they met the Calhan family of six. Four children of parents April and Terry. Immediately, Kristan says, they knew they had found a family that would eventually be one they considered their own.
“I tear up every time I talk about it, seeing a mom that… she felt defeated. A wife that felt defeated. They lost everything, they were renting… they’d lost everything. Had nothing but the clothes on their back,” said Kristan.
They helped the family buy new clothes, go Christmas shopping, and weeks later, connected them to a member in their Virginia community who gave them a car.
Kristan says the families still keep in touch, their “extended family” is moving forward.