PHILIPSBURG — At Philipsburg Public Schools, there is a music teacher, who wanted to teach her students about the power of helping others. And when her hometown of Denton was struck with tragedy, she and her K-12 students jumped into action.
On December 1st, the community of Denton, Montana, was hit by a wildfire that ran through the city, leaving almost nothing left.
Jill Waldbillig is the Philipsburg Public Schools K-12 music teacher. She is also a native of Denton.
With family and friends still living in the city, she was shocked to hear about the wildfire and devastated to hear about the loss to her hometown.
“When that elevator started to go, the wind would blow big flaming chunks of bombs,” said Jill Waldbillig, Philipsburg Public Schools K-12 music teacher. “But about 25 houses went down a lot of people asked homes. So I thought about that and then I thought about the importance of kids reaching out beyond their homes and where they live. And so that’s kind of where we got this thing started here.”
Waldbillig knew she wanted to help those who were in need. So she gathered her students together and started a fundraiser.
“Because 25 houses are down, and we’re raising money by wearing hats,” said Philipsburg Public Schools Second Grader, Jersi Kurger.
Part of the fundraiser allows students to pay $1 to wear a hat to school, they can pay $3 for a snack and can bring in money to their music teacher.
Learning the power of community and helping those in need, by having a little bit of fun too.
Waldbillig says she wasn’t sure how much money they have raised just yet, as donations are still coming in. But she plans on accepting donations as long as they come, and there is a need.
The landscape of Denton may have changed, but the strength of the community hasn’t.
“But the thing that hasn’t changed, people are resilient, and people in central Montana are especially so and they reach out and help each other,” Waldbillig told MTN News.
Waldbillig said that Farmers State Bank in Denton is putting together a fund to help those in the community who need aid in rebuilding their lives.
You can make donations to Farmers State Bank at PO box 1047, Denton, MT 59430.