Friends, family and even strangers rally in support of teenage Central Texas burn victim

Published: Jun. 10, 2021 at 8:44 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 10:18 AM CDT
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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) - Friends, family and strangers gathered for a fundraiser at the Bell County Motoworks in Temple Thursday to raise money for a teenager who nearly lost his life in a fire weeks ago.

It’s been a long road to recovery for 16-year-old Justin Booth. He was at his grandfather’s house in Belton on May 12 when it caught fire.

“I just remember getting up and thinking is my grandpa alright,” he said.

“Right away, I grabbed my phone, turned on my flashlight, and went out my bedroom door to try and go save him. I was met with the heat, and then I turned around trying to go back out the door.”

During the fire, Booth suffered third degree burns to his hands and face while making sure that his grandparents got out okay. While his face recovered much faster than anticipated, Booth remains at the hospital getting treatment for his hands and ears.

Since the fire, the community has come out in waves of support for Booth and his family, including multiple GoFundMe pages.

“When this tragedy happened and knowing that he was trying to save his grandparents, which is how he got hurt, we couldn’t just stand by and watch him struggle from this without our help,” said Lani Steinhaus, a family friend.

Overall, the drive and GoFundMe pages have collected more than $22,000 for medical expenses and repairs to the home, something that Booth and his family are forever grateful for.

“What I’m thankful for the most is their lives,” said Angela Booth, Justin’s mother.

“The community support has been amazing. More so than we ever thought would happen. A lot of people we know and a lot of people we don’t know. They’ve sent prayers and well-wishes and it’s just really overwhelming.”

“I feel very blessed,” Booth said.

“It’s been rough, but I’d rather it be me than my grandfather. So, I’ll make it through this, one way or another.”

Anyone who’d like to donate to the family directly can find the housing link here, and the medical link here.

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