Baughman House 1

This house, at 358 Baughman Rd. in Kilgore, was destroyed in a fire Oct. 18. Residents John Coward and his son Terry are currently staying in a hotel in Longview while the Kilgore Fuller Center for Housing makes plans to demolish the burned structure and build a new home in its place. Fuller Center Executive Director David Hampton said the destruction of the structure was extensive and the center is currently accepting donations to cover the costs of removing the burned structure and building a new home in its place.

Two Kilgore residents who lost their home in an October house fire are getting a helping hand from a local charitable organization.

John Coward and his son Terry lost their home and all their possessions in the Oct. 18 fire at 358 Baughman Rd. in Kilgore.

David Hampton, executive director of Kilgore Fuller Center for Housing and Kilgore Habitat for Humanity, said the Fuller Center will be building the father and son a new home.

“They’ve already applied and then been accepted. They completed the application process,” Hampton said Thursday.

John Coward’s mother left him the family home in 2008 but he did not have insurance on the property. While the Fuller Center has approved the construction of a new house for Coward and his son, it will be some time before construction can begin.

“Now we’re trying to find a place for him to live until a home can be built. The other house has to be torn down and hauled away. We’re dealing with freezing weather. With the concrete, it’ll probably be spring before we can start working on it,” Hampton said, adding the new home will be built on the site of the burned structure once that structure has been removed.

The destruction at the property was severe, Hampton said.

“We’re talking, they lost everything, clothes, everything.”

In the meantime, the father and son need a place to stay.

“Right this minute they’re in a motel, the Guest Inn in Longview, provided by the Red Cross but that runs out next Tuesday. We’re desperately seeking a place they can afford to rent,” Hampton said.

Terry Coward has a job at the Kilgore Wal-Mart but Hampton said the Fuller Center is seeking donations so money can be put towards maintaining a place to live for them. Terry’s earnings also go towards maintaining a vehicle and getting to work.

“We opened an account at Citizens Bank that people can donate to. They would make a check out to the Fuller Center for Housing. In the memo line on the check, they would put John Coward Benefit.”

There is a Kilgore Citizens Bank branch located at 301 E. Main St.

Hampton specified the money will not be given directly to Coward and his son but will instead be earmarked solely for the cost of replacing their possessions and covering the cost of tearing down and hauling off the burned structure.

He also said friends of the father and son have been helping them with food.

To learn more about supporting the John Coward Benefit, contact David Hampton by phone or text at 903-522-1781 or by email at kil.hab@hotmail.com. Contact the Fuller Center for Housing at 229-924-2900 or by email at email@fullercenter.org.

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