Police officers and firefighters in Greenwood, AR, lent a helping hand to the school district on Wednesday. They served as substitute teachers at the middle school so staff members could attend the funeral of a fellow teacher who died suddenly last weekend.
"Ms. Nelms was a supporter of the fire and police department," Fire Chief Stewart Bryan said. "She`s been a supporter of us for many years. Now that the school`s in need, we wanted to help the school out. We wanted to make sure all the teachers were available to attend the funeral."
A wreath holding a name tag and purple ribbon sits outside the door of the classroom where Jennifer Nelms taught. The 32-year-old was a paraprofessional for 5th graders at East Hills Middle School. She died Saturday from complications associated with Lupus. Co-workers said she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease about two years ago. People wore purple Wednesday in her honor.
Around 15 Greenwood police officers as well as the police and fire chiefs subbed for teachers so they could go to Nelms' funeral.
"It's certainly an honor to be in the class that she taught in, and she was a great person, obviously loved by a lot of people and students, and she's gonna be greatly missed," Police Chief William Dawson said.
Nelms leaves behind a husband and two young sons.