Mentor to 12-Year-Old Boy Helps Raise Almost $250K After the Boy Lost His Family in a Fire

By Nancy Flory Published on February 8, 2021

“May we trust God’s plan more than ever before, hug your loved ones today … You never know when it will be your last one!!” wrote Zac Hendrix, 24. He recently set up a GoFundMe page for his mentee, Taeden Johnson, who lost his grandmother, mother and sister in a fire last month.

Hendrix was paired with Taeden, 12, four years ago through the Clarke County Mentor Program. The mentoring program matches University of Georgia students with elementary school students. Hendrix, under the supervision of the program, took Taeden to church every Sunday as well as to other events. 

Early one morning in late January, Taeden’s home caught on fire. The boy ran to his neighbor’s house for help after trying to save his family. He suffered burns on his face, elbow and arm. Hendrix rushed to Athens to be with the boy as soon as he heard.

“By the Grace of God to see his smile saying, ‘I love you bro, you are just a few of the family I have left…’ has left me crushed, but trusting God’s plan through this tragic event,” Hendrix wrote on the GoFundMe page. 

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As of Monday, the page has raised over $228,000 to help Taeden. Hendrix also asked people to pray for Taeden and his family. “Please keep this family in your prayers and know the people affected by this are closer to God than ever before. His word states, ‘The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.'”

“The community of Athens, Georgia, what a special place, it’s really touched my heart,” Hendrix told KHOU-11. “You know, our backgrounds, what we believe in, our skin color, all that goes away. I mean, we’re here to love each other. And I think America needs to do a better job of just loving each other, being a friend, being supportive … simply giving a text or calling to say, ‘Hey, look, you okay?’”

Proceeds from the GoFundMe fundraiser will go to a college fund for Taeden and to his other grandmother, so she can purchase new clothing and personal items.


Nancy Flory is an associate editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3, and follow The Stream @Streamdotorg.

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