BURKBURNETT (KFDX/KJTL) — 2022 got off to a rough start for the Kosechata family, to say the least.
In the early morning hours of the second day of the new year, their family home in Burkburnett caught on fire and was fully involved by the time the Burkburnett Fire Department were on the scene.
The house was reduced to ashes, and the Kosechata’s were without nearly any possessions of their own.
One of our viewers who is close to the family sent an email to our newsroom with a link to a GoFundMe that had been set up by a family friend, as well as a list of clothing needs for the family.
The goal of the GoFundMe account was to help them raise $10,000 in an effort to start rebuilding their home.
Once the story was published and had been shared to our social media accounts, a digital producer replied to a tweet of a well known account with a link, asking for help for the family.
That account belonged to Bill Pulte, the creator of Twitter philanthropy and CEO of Pulte Capital and The Blight Authority.
Pulte explained Twitter philanthropy as an effort to connect people who are in immediate need or crisis and get them the resources they need to take care of their need.
“What I try to really focus on in addition to giving to people who are in immediate need or crisis is focusing on situations that are in many ways out of the control of the people who are in them,” Pulte said. “When I saw you guys’ story about the house fire… This is by no fault of their own that they had all of their earthly possessions wiped out.”
Pulte and his more than 3 million Twitter followers, who he affectionately refers to as his team, help thousands of people every year.
Pulte said it’s all in an effort to use social media for good in the midst of a culture that often uses it for distruction.
“Social media is used for such hate, such vitriol in todays society that we try to be the one corner of social media where people can help each other,” Pulte said.
Pulte said it’s an exhilarating thing to help those in need and crisis, and that social media has made it possible like nothing else before it.
“We’re trying to figure out how we can use this amazing technology that is social media for good,” Pulte said. “A lot of times, technology gets a bad rap, but if we can kind of change our perspective on how we use technology maybe not so much to tear people down but to build people up i think that we can really take care of a lot of those areas where people are experiencing pain and where we can come in and hopefully alleviate that pain.”
The Kosechata’s pain hit extremely close to home for Pulte, whose father Mark Pulte, the head of a Fortune-500 home building company, lost his family home to a fire in October 2020.
“He unfortunately had his home totally go ablaze in terms of a big fire,” Pulte said. “So I know these things can catch families off guard.”
So, Pulte donated $1,000 do the Kosechata family. But he didn’t stop there.
“When I saw that this family was having this problem, and then with my experience with this family problem in that regard, I said, ‘Wow, can we use our 3 million followers to really juice this thing?'”
And that’s exactly what happened. Pulte retweet our story and asked his followers, “How quick can we fundraise this $10k?”
And then, as Pulte said, it took off like a rocket ship.
Within a matter of minutes, not only was the $10,000 fundraising goal met, but donations kept pouring in from all over the country. As of Friday, over $21,000 has been raised, more than double the original fundraising goal.
And much like he did, Pulte hopes the Kosechata’s will use this money as a starting point, not only to rebuild their home, but to help others in the future.
“I would just say to the family, pay it forward,” Pulte said. “A lot of people from across the country love you, came together and took care of you in your time of need. Hopefully you’ll remember that when you get back on your feet, like you will.”
And just like the Kosechata’s can finally see some hope among the ashes in an otherwise dark and dismal situation, Pulte’s message mirrors his challenge to the family; turn the bad into something you can use for good.
Now, the Kosechata’s can begin to put the pieces back together and begin to heal, thanks to the support of their community, and that of strangers from across the nation thanks to social media paying it forward.