Roanoke community raises money, buys camper for man who lost his home in a fire

Not only did he get a new home, but they brought him a dumpster to clean up leftover rubble, clothes, blankets and food

What started as an inspirational Facebook page turned into a life-changing gesture.

HOLLINS, Va. – What started as an inspirational Facebook page turned into a life-changing gesture for one Hollins man.

John Bandy works tirelessly in his yard, cleaning the remnants of what used to be his home.

“The whole roof was just engulfed in flames, it was just blazing, and there was nothing they could do, it was already gone at that point,” said Bandy.

Just before Christmas last year, a fire burned Bandy’s Hollins home to the ground, displacing him and his dog, Sid. Without wanting to go to a shelter or leave Sid, he did everything to stay.

“I stayed in a tool shed, the tool shed collapsed shortly afterwards. Me and my dog shared a dog house one night. I had a tent, I stayed in a tent,” he explained.

Bandy had no idea, that with the help from a complete stranger, he’d no longer be homeless.

Angela Pryor drove the same street to work every day. After seeing him in a makeshift shelter, she knew it was time to help.

“I said something has got to be done, it’s absolutely better to give than receive, so I stopped by and asked, ‘hey, what happened and what do you need?’” said Pryor.

She runs a Facebook group called “Inspire 540.” What started out as a page for inspirational quotes, turned into a platform to assist others.

“All the people that stepped in and jumped in to help him with no judgment was just awesome,” Pryor said.

Pryor and the group raised money for a dumpster to help clear the rubble. They brought him clothes, blankets and food. But they didn’t stop there, they bought Bandy a camper.

“He just fell to his knees and said he couldn’t believe people cared enough to help him out,” said Pryor.

“When she brought that camper and I knew I could stay here, I have a home now,” Bandy added.

They provided not just a home, but hope, to help bandy rise from the ashes.

About the Author:

Alyssa Rae grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Virginia Tech. An avid sports fan, she spent her first 8 years in TV as a sports anchor and reporter.