Roland Hernandez and Evangelina Salas hadn’t been in Paris more than a year when they got a phone call no one wants to receive.
“We were out of town for work when we were told our house was on fire,” said Hernandez with tears in his eyes. “By the time we got home the house was a complete loss and nothing could be saved.”
Not only did the couple lose the entire contents of their home but their truck, car, and motorcycle were also destroyed.
“It breaks my heart because Eva had just finished moving her belongings up here from Gonzales, Texas, and then this happened,” said Hernandez.
The couple, who have known each other over 30-years and recently reconnected in 2017, moved to Paris after a work opportunity brought them here.
“I came up here for work and didn’t have any intentions of staying but both Eva and I fell in love with the city and decided we wanted to live here.”
However, after the blaze took everything they owned they were unsure what the future held for them.
“Our family back home planned a benefit to help raise some money but we were unsure how to proceed after the fire.”
That’s when local hotel owner and businessman, Mihir Pankaj stepped in to help the couple.
“Roland and Eva were staying in our hotel, Days Inn, and it broke my heart to see this lovely couple move to our beautiful town only to lose everything,” said Pankaj. “That’s when I knew Paris could show them how amazing our community is and help.”
Pankaj, together with local media personality Katie Dixon, reached out to the public asking for donations of everyday household items to refurbish an apartment the couple spent their last dollars on.
“Our community is amazing and we knew if we shared their story locals would come together to help,” said Pankaj. “We wanted to help this couple because they’re new to our area and don’t know anyone so no one really knew to help them.”
While they knew Paris would come together to help, the response they got from the community left everyone speechless.
“In less than 48-hours, we had most of the items that we needed from larger furniture to kitchen items, bedsheets, towels, clothes and more. This community has absolutely blown us all away and this is exactly why Paris is so special.”
Upon delivery of the donations, the couple was left speechless with tears in their eyes.
“We both would like to thank everyone that donated and the city of Paris from the bottom of our hearts,” said Hernandez.
“Words can’t express how we felt seeing all that was given,” he continued. “We can’t wait to one day have the opportunity to give back to the community. We are proud to call Paris our home.”
A GoFundMe has been set up for the couple to help with additional items and costs – if you’d like to donate click here.