5th grade teacher loses house to fire, only misses 1 day of school

Updated: Dec. 10, 2019 at 8:00 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A mother of two and a teacher at Oak Grove Bellemeade lost her home to a kitchen fire but instead of taking time off to take care of home, she’s at school taking care of her students.

“I treat them like they’re my children,” Dominique Hardy says.

Hardy is exactly the type of person you want teaching your kids. Hardy’s love for her students goes beyond her fifth-grade classroom.

"Some of them are involved in sports so I try to go to some of their sporting events. If they need something, whether it’s monetary, just a hug, a high five, whatever the case may be because maybe at home or wherever they are, they may not be getting that love there,” says Hardy.

“Some of them are without a parent, or they’ve experienced loss in their family. So for her to be a constant for them, a loving nurturing person for them, that’s something that all of our students need. Being a constant for her students even took precedence in the midst of Hardy’s own tragedy,” Assistant Principal Christal Jordan said.

“I was gone for maybe 30 minutes, I came back and there was smoke coming out of each end of the house,” Hardy said.

With her 7-year-old son by her side, Hardy watched as a kitchen fire changed their lives.

“He started crying because he wanted his Pokémon stuff. Lightbulbs had busted, blinds were melted, front windows were cracked and everything so they told us our house was a total loss,” Hardy said.

Hardy only missed one day at school and didn’t really mention what had happened.

“I did not know, I found out later what had happened. I said ‘Ms. Hardy, can I speak to you?’ she said ‘yes?’ I said, ‘Why are you here?’ and she said, ‘because of my kids.’" She’s an amazing educator and we definitely love her. She’s so selfless and our kids need that. She definitely embodies what we want for our students and for our staff, and so I am just very appreciative of what she does," Jordan said.

Hardy and her two kids are still looking for a permanent place to stay.

"Starting completely over around the holiday season is hard because Santa Claus just can’t disappear,” Hardy said.

Times are hard, and she still needs a lot of help. But in the midst of it all, her fifth graders will continue to get the best out of Ms. Hardy.

“They need me, I have to try to keep that in the back of my mind, they need me, my house is gone but they need me,” Hardy said.

Anyone who wants to help Hardy and her children as they continue to find a place to live and get back on their feet can donate through the GoFundMe set up for them, HERE.

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