RICHMOND, Va. — William Fox Elementary School stood as a cornerstone of Richmond's Fan District for 110 years. In one blistering, smoking agonizing night… it was gone.
"I can't picture it not being there. It's heartbreaking," said Gayle Hefty. She was the principal there from 1998 to 2005.
"Absolutely the best years of my life."
Joining Gayle to look at the burned remains of the school was her daughter, Sarah Hendricks.
The former teacher of 12 years shares her mom's heartbreak, but is also donating all of her old school supplies to current Fox teachers.
"People don't think we have to buy for ourselves. I spent thousands and thousands of dollars on my own classrooms. I know the pain and know how much these teachers have put into their classrooms."
Former student, Liza Mickens, was outside the school with them on this particular day."My mother actually taught at Fox for 20 years. She was the librarian," said Liza.
"At a place like Fox we recognize how much they put in to make it magical," she added.
All three have fond memories of the school's past.
Neighborhood families stopped by too, wondering about the school's future.
"It's heartbreaking and warming at the same time," said Gayle.
The future of Fox is still unclear. But Gayle has this hope: "That Fox will be rebuilt on this spot and will continue and rise like a Phoenix from the ashes."
One thing we do know, this old building... with its memories and magic... had a big role in Building Better Minds.
You can help Sarah and others donate to the Fox Elementary School teachers here.
There will also be a drive-through children's book drive to support the Fox Elementary school held on Feb. 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church on Monument Avenue. You can donate money for new books, buy new books or donate gently-used books.
Find unique, award-winning stories every day on CBS 6 News:
Mondays: CBS 6 Gives
Tuesdays: CBS 6 Problem Solvers Investigations
Wednesdays: Wayne's World
🙋♀️ Thursdays: Heroes Among Us
Thursdays: Beyond the Roster
Fridays: I Have a Story