Hillsville community rallies around senior couple after their house fire

HILLSVILLE, Va. – An elderly couple was displaced by a house fire just days before Christmas. Now, the Hillsville community is stepping in to help.

“My house is just awful,” Martin said when asked about the damage to her home.

Martin said the fire started in the chimney.

The American Red Cross is helping the 81-year-old, but her work family is doing what they can, too.

Taco Bell General Manager Zoie Hudson created a GoFundMe page to support Martin. So far, she’s raised almost $5,000.

“I already know that she is 80 years old. She works for me. She’s my employee and when I found out about that I made a GoFundMe,” said Hudson.

Hudson said the funds are for Martin so she doesn’t have to work extra shifts or hours. She currently washes dishes at Taco Bell.

The community is also helping Martin. She’s received monetary donations and gift cards, including a gift card to Food Lion.

“I used to help everybody else out. I guess they are gonna help me out because I was in the Rescue Squad and everything, so I always help them any way I can,” said Martin.

Hudson has great admiration for Martin. She said Martin is like her grandmother.

“My granny my great-grandmother passed away a few years ago, Arlene came to work for me about that time and we’ve always been close since then,” said Hudson. “She always makes sure that everybody is taken care of. She always makes sure to give me a Christmas gift or a birthday gift or to give my son a Christmas gift or a birthday gift and she was there with me my whole pregnancy and asked me about all the doctors’ appointments and she’s just a good person.”

Martin shares the same admiration for Hudson and her work family.

“There’s a good group here and they are all nice. I couldn’t find no better, and that little Zoie she’s an angel and all the rest of them too,” said Martin.

Click here to visit the fundraiser and donate.

About the Author:

Keshia Lynn is a Multimedia Journalist for WSLS. She was born and raised in Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society from American University and a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.