Gautier Clubs Help Ease Pain For Terminally Sick Teacher

The Gautier Kiwanis Club and high school key club worked hard Monday afternoon filling hundreds of boxes with steamy red beans and rice. Each box sold for five dollars.

Event organizer Billy Walker says every penny will go toward Gautier High School teacher John Boeffenmyer's medical bills.

"Surgery's not cheap, hospital care is not cheap. He's spent his fair share of time there this year. Not only that, with some complications after the surgery, he still has to go back. He goes once a day, seven days a week to wound care," Gautier High teacher Walker says.

The astronomy teacher has been diagnosed with terminal cancer in his small intestines. It's caused him to miss lots of days at school.

When he's not there, students like Summer Bouncey say they miss him.

"Every day that he wasn't there we missed him. He was not just a teacher, we was a friend," Bouncey says.

That's why Lakesha Magee cares so much about helping out. She says Boeffenmyer makes Gautier High what it is.

"It's sad to know that he is sick because he's such a good teacher and such a funny person. He contributes so much to our school," Magee says.

Pascagoula Schools Superintendent Dr. Hank Bounds says he hopes Boeffenmyer does recover. He says there's no way they could find another teacher like him.

"You can't replace John Boeffenmyer. It's impossible," Bounds says.

"It wouldn't be the same place if he wasn't there,"Bouncey says.

With the 800 servings of red beans and rice, the clubs hope to raise roughly $4,000 for their teacher's medical bills. But they say the real reason is to show Boeffenmyer just how much he means to the community.

"The entire school, the entire community cares about him, and this is their way of saying, 'Mr. Boeffenmyer, we love you. We know we can't do what physicians do, but we can cook, serve, do something just to show that we care about you and want you to get better',"Bounds says.