PHILIPSBURG — A Philipsburg music teacher wanted to teach her students about the power of helping others and after her hometown of Denton was struck with tragedy.
Jill Waldbillig and her K-12 students jumped into action after Denton was hit by a wildfire that ran through the town on Dec. 1 leaving almost nothing left.
Waldbillig — who is a native of Denton and has family and friends still living there — was shocked to hear about the wildfire and devastated to hear about the loss in her hometown.
“When that elevator started to go, the wind would blow big flaming chunks of bombs. 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.” - Jill Waldbillig
Waldbillig knew she wanted to help those 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 second grade student 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.
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 Opportunity Bank in Denton is putting together a fund to help those in the community who need aid in rebuilding their lives. Donations may be made to Opportunity Bank at PO Box 1047, Denton, MT 59430.