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  • Kayla Hare

Vaughn family Loses Everything in House Fire, Community Rallies Around Them

The team and I started the day like any other Friday when playing away. We got up, ate breakfast, and went to film. Except this time during film our coach Katie Vaughn received some life changing news. Within five minutes of starting film, Coach Vaughn received a phone call from her neighbor. She didn’t pick up at first but read the voicemail transcript: “Your house is on fire.” She immediately left the room to call her back. At this moment everyone in the room knew something was wrong.

Alexa Chairs, a junior on the women’s basketball team, said, “We all were really confused and worried at first, since we knew that she would never answer her phone during film, unless it was something very important.”

At that point no one in the room knew how major that phone call actually was. Coach Vaughn got ahold of her neighbor who frantically explained that her house was on fire and that there were four firetrucks there right now and nothing was left.

She found out later the fire started in the basement. That by the time anyone noticed what was happening the house was already gone. The Vaughn family lives in a relatively secluded neighborhood where there are not many passing vehicles.

Luckily her two kids, Even and Ella, were at school and husband Calvin was at work. Although tragic Coach Vaughn stated, “It could have been worse, you can replace a house but you can’t replace a life.”

Coach Vaughn went straight home after receiving this news to be with her family during this difficult time. While the team headed off to play the #2 ranked team in the conference, Lewis. Lewis has not lost on their home court in two years till the the University of Missouri–St. Louis’ Tritons beat them 71-60.

The team Facetimed their coach right after the game, very excited to share the great news. Alex LaPorta said, “She told us to win for ourselves but I think we all played for her that game.” Alex is a two year starter for the UMSL women’s basketball team.

This was an important win for the UMSL women’s basketball team, taking them up in the conference rankings. They are now 10–11 so far this season. Going into these weekend games with a four game win streak. Thursday's game is against Quincy and Saturday's game is against Truman State.

The GoFundMe page has raised $15,207 for the Vaughn family. The original goal for this page was $5,000. During this hard time the UMSL community has rallied around to help in any way they can. It’s not just the UMSL community though, teams in the conference have generously given to the Vaughn family. The GLVC is one of the most competitive Division 2 conferences in the country. It may be competitive but it’s also a family. When tragedy strikes they are there for one another. When asked if the kids need anymore clothes, Coach Vaughn said, “They have more clothes now than they did before.” This is just one example of how the community and others have came together to help the Vaughn family.


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