‘Like an adopted son:’ District rallies around Arp ISD coach who lost home to fire

Arp Coach Loses Home In Fire
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 5:02 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 30, 2022 at 7:45 PM CST
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ARP, Texas (KLTV) - A longtime coach at Arp ISD lost his home to a fire on Thanksgiving.

According to the district, they are rallying around Coach Winston Butler and his mother Dorene Freeney. Overnight at around 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, their house burned down, and they lost everything.

Butler and Freeney were in the home on East Front St. but neither of them were hurt in the fire. Butler says they woke up to their smoke detectors going off. The cause of the fire has yet to be determined.

Butler told us how he and his mother are doing since the event.

“It’s been a roller coaster. I mean, me and my mom are slowly trying to get back to reality, you know. Mom is not working at the moment. She’s trying to, you know, go back and forth to Tyler, taking care of some things.”

But once the Arp community heard about the loss, they immediately stepped up to help. Former Athletic Director Dale Irwin has played a large part in helping Butler and his mother get back on their feet.

Irwin said, “To me and my family, he’s part of our family. But not only that, he’s a big member of the Arp family, so we wanted to make sure that, knowing him as long as we have, that he is taken care of, him and his mother.”

“I’m glad I’ve been in this community for a long time. You know they’re going to take care of me. They treat me pretty much as an adopted son,” added Butler.

Clothing, essential items, and monetary donations have been given to the school each day. American State Bank in Arp has also turned into a donation location. The bank set up jugs around town Wednesday morning to spread the word and collect donations.

“It’s just been an incredible, incredible outpouring of love. I’m very proud of this community and just East Texas in general. This is what we do in East Texas. We take care of one another.” said Arp ISD Superintendent Shannon Arrington.

If you would like to help Butler and his mother, click here.