Retired teachers and administrators joined current Carson High School staff and other community members Monday at a fundraiser luncheon for Linda Peton, a teacher's aide in need of a heart transplant.
"She's just a quality person who has always supported me," said former principal Fred Perdomo, who worked at the school for 35 years as a teacher, dean, vice principal and principal. "This gives me a chance to support her."
A group of teachers at the high school organized Monday's taco bar, prepared by the culinary arts students, along with a raffle to raise money for Peton who will be going to the University of Utah on June 1 for the transplant.
Peton needs help with housing and other expenses related to the procedure.
Since an article about her situation ran in the Nevada Appeal on May 8, the community has rallied around her.
Angila Golik, a government teacher who is managing the donations, said nearly $4,500has been collected.
Peton said she received some possible options for housing, including a motor home or an apartment.
Representatives from Sen. Harry Reid's, D-Nev., office contacted her with federal programs that may be of assistance and attended the luncheon.
"The support of everyone is amazing," Peton said. "The love that everyone is showing to my husband and me is overwhelming."
Former student April Saunders, who graduated in 2002, organized a car wash - along with her sister Amanda Fratis and aunt Debra Eckert - over the weekend to raise money for Peton.
Despite a cold, blustery Sunday, they were able to raise $160, which they presented to Peton on Monday.
"She's been there for me all through my high school," Saunders said. "She's a really good person, and we want to help her out any way we can."
A group of staff members at the high school is forming a committee, Heart for Linda, to organize more fundraisers. They hope to raise about $20,000 more.
"We obviously know a taco bar luncheon isn't going raise enough money," Golik said. "This committee is to come up with ways to get at it on a bigger scale."
Peton, known for her willingness to help others, said it's hard to be on the receiving end but is grateful for the support.
"There's a lot of wonderful souls around this place," she said. "I'm very fortunate."