MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A deadly house fire in Memphis killed 10 people on September 12. Tuesday, students said their final goodbyes to five of their classmates that were killed in the fire.
Five of those 10 people were students at Cummings Elementary School: Alonzo Ward, Diamond Jett, Kerra Jett, Ernest Jett, and Cameron Hollingsworth-Jett.
To help keep the memory of these students alive, WMC Action News 5, Shelby County Schools, and SchoolSeed are teaming up to raise money in the victims' honor.
The money raised will go toward buying a washer and dryer and putting them in a new family support center at Cummings. The washer and dryer will be there so students can have clean clothes to wear to school.
The school is also planning to put a clothes closet in the support center for the students to use.
All money raised during this fundraiser will go first toward the washer and dryer, then toward improving the family support center and a learning garden, which will be named in honor of the victims.
Ernest Jett is well known at his alma mater, Cummings Elementary School. He drove his children there every day, gave hugs to their teachers, and when other children could not afford uniforms, he bought them uniforms.
"My kids were my world," Jett said. "I wouldn't want them to get a paper cut. It hurt me."
He calls the loss of ten people, including seven of his children, in the house fire on Severson "crushing."
Although Kerra, Ernest, Cameron, Diamond, and Alonzo can never be replaced, their memories can be kept alive with help from Memphians.
A fundraiser will be held Thursday to raise money for a family support center at Cummings Elementary School.
"I wasn't expecting this," Jett said. "It's wonderful. Something positive coming from something that's so bad," Jett said.
Meanwhile, Jett said support from the community and loved ones, as well as staying strong for his children still living, keeps him going.
"Like a battery. You've got the positive and the negative to make it spark," he said. "I'm not feeding into the negative because I am a pairing."
Students at Cummings gathered Tuesday to remember and celebrate the lives of their classmates.
Cummings school principal Key Coleman said the school hasn't been the same without Alonzo, Diamond, Ernest, and Cameron.
"They would come like a mini-army into the cafeteria. So our day was interrupted and you kind of noticed when things changed and they didn't show up. It felt very different," Coleman said.
James said he's still amazed at the support the community has extended to him.
During Tuesday's ceremony, WMC Action News 5 and Shelby County Schools announced details of the fundraiser for the family support center.
In addition to being able to donate online, you can also make your donation over the phone or through the mail. Please call (901) 207-1472 or send your donation to one of the following addresses:
P.O. Box 111169
Memphis, TN 38111
2670 Union Avenue Extended
Memphis, TN 38112