Shelly Chesnut is a sixth grade science teacher at Grant County Middle School. The mother of eight is described as a hard working, busy mom, who is very student centered.
And now, she's grieving an unimaginable loss.
Her work family at school is doing what they can to ease the pain of losing her two youngest children, and her home, to a fire.
"From a mother's perspective, or a father's perspective, that's just about the worst thing that can happen to someone," said Grant County schools superintendent Ron Livingood.
He had to make the announcement this week that one of his own had been hit by a tragic loss.
"In this situation, the staff were probably hit harder than the students. Especially those staff members who were parents themselves. Because in addition to losing a home to a fire, she lost two of her children," explained Livingood.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Chesnut's Cynthiana home caught fire. Shelly was at work. Her husband, Terry, was inside the house with their two youngest daughters.
Five year old Jacqueline died Wendesday, and 4 year old Rachel died Thursday night.
Terry Chesnut is in critical condition at a Lexington hospital suffering from third degree burns after trying to save his little girls.
Livingood says when his staff found out, they gave anything the could.
Several teachers donated their own sick days to Chesnut, allowing her to take time off to grieve, and still get paid.
"At this point the type of giving that is going on, which is pretty immediate, is sacrificial giving. People see immediate need, and they're just giving a lot. Not just of themselves in terms of visits, or prayer, or anything else, they are giving financially, very sacrificially, to try and meet a need," he explained.
So many students, parents, and community members have expressed interest in helping the Chesnut family that the school system is collecting money for them.
A candlelight prayer vigil for the family is being held Sunday from 6:00-7:00 p.m. on the lawn of the Harrison County Courthouse.
An account has also been established for the family at Harrison Deposit Bank and Trust, P.O. Box 38, Cynthiana, KY 41031.
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