13 September 2006

Tale of the Teacher Who Lost Everything and Received Even More in Return

This is the story of Holly Shaffer. Shaffer is a new teacher here in the Clark County School District. She was hired over the phone on a Tuesday in August. She was living in Indiana at the time but the following Thursday, Shaffer and her fiance were here in Las Vegas with everything they owned (and wanted to relocate). By Friday they were down to just the clothes on their backs.

Shaffer and fiance were staying at
Sunset Station Casino and Hotel in Henderson. They drove here in a pickup with a U-Haul trailer attached. It was stolen from the casino parking lot. Shaffer called the school district and the district alerted the media.

And here is where I find the interest. Shaffer's story was told. It was told in the same manner reporters tell other stories about children dying in county care and boxing gyms closing because they lack community support. But when Shaffer's story was told, people here cared. And they were willing to pay for it. Shaffer and fiance started off with a free stay at the casino. Then the casino gave them gift cards for the nearest mall. From there, the community pitched in and the result was more than $20,000 in cash. Plus prizes.

In the end, Shaffer's U-Haul was found. It had some of candles inside, but little else. We also learned she wasn't the first new teacher to have her stuff stolen from the Sunset Station parking lot. It happened to another teacher a few weeks before it happened to Shaffer. By the time that teacher got to television, Las Vegas' generosity was tapped. But Shaffer did share her booty.