Watch: The moment high school students gave their caretaker her home back, a year after a devastating fire


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The Independent US

A popular school caretaker was given the surprise of a lifetime when students helped to rebuild – and fully furnish – the home she lost in a devastating fire a year ago.

Last June, Brenda Hurst – who has been looking after Boiling Springs High School in South Carolina for 20 years – received a call while she was working to say that her house had gone up in flames.

When she raced to her hometown of Campobello, Ms Hurst became hysterical at the sight of the small home that had been in her family for generations smouldering to the ground, possessions all lost.

Soon after, the president of the student council at the time, Alexis Ork, sprang into action and, with a volunteer building group called Carpenters for Christ, donations poured in for building materials needed to put together a new home for the woman with ‘the instantly recognisable laugh’.

The school said Ms Hurst knew a rebuilding project was underway – but that she didn’t know the scale of it until all was revealed on-the-day, after which she screamed, cried and thanked the community for giving her her home back. 

The caretaker had never had a washing machine, dryer or air-conditioning but can now call herself the proud owner of all three, said Ms Ork.

The high school’s principal, Chuck Gordon, told ABC News he couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of the surprise because Ms Hurst has always been a source of encouragement, inspiration and motivation for students throughout the years.

He added: “She found herself hurting and it was our turn to give back to her.”

The first thing the caretaker wanted to do in her new home? “Go into the big old closet and just lay on the floor,” she said.

“It’s humongous.”

Watch the heartwarming moment all was revealed: