BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — Amy Harpool was out of town on a girl’s weekend in June 2016 when her phone started ringing constantly.
At first, she thought the chickens or goats at their Eldorado Springs home had gotten out again. But the phone kept on ringing.
“My neighbor had left me a message saying, ‘Amy, I hate to tell you this, but your house is on fire,'” she recalled.
Thankfully, Harpool said, her husband and three kids were out of the house, but the fire claimed the life of their dog, Clyde, and left them with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
“We’re grateful to be alive and grateful everybody was okay. But it was just shocking,” she said. “It was just a normal Sunday morning, and everything can change within hours.”
A friend set up a GoFundMe account for the family, who were underinsured at the time.
Harpool says she thought it would raise a few thousand dollars — enough to buy some new clothes and hopefully pay a month’s rent at their new home.
Instead, that fundraiser raised nearly $24,000.
“It was so generous, and so needed,” she said. “It was just a huge chunk of money we needed right away.”
‘It was a gift’
The family rebuilt the home, and decided to move across the country earlier this summer.
“Even before we put it on the market, we said, you know, that 24,000 isn’t really our money. It was a gift,” Harpool said.
Amy and her husband David decided to donate the money to Boulder’s Emergency Family Assistance Association, or EFAA.
Ashley Rumble, who handles development and communications for the organization, came across the online gift on her computer.
“I came across the gift from Amy Harpool and her family and I was absolutely blown away,” Ashley Rumble said. “I called her up and I said, ‘First-time donation, wow, this is really remarkable. What inspired such a generous gift?'”
Rumble said the story nearly brought her to tears.
“That spirit of generosity, and we’re all in this, and it could be any of us at any time, and the recognition that we can all help each other through,” she said.
Harpool said she reached out to everyone who donated and asked if anyone wanted their money back.
She says every single person who responded turned it down, and told her to pay it forward.
She’s hoping their generosity inspires others to donate to places like EFAA.
“When you lose everything, it definitely does put everything in perspective,” she said. “If other people are inspired to pay it forward, than that’s awesome.”