Teachers often consider themselves blessed, for many reasons, but for one woman, there was just one.
“It means a lot,” said Nicole Linera Gonzalez, fighting back tears. “To me and my family. It's a lot.”
Nicole Linera Gonzalez works with special needs students at Polser Elementary in Lewisville ISD. She's only worked there a few months after moving all the way from Puerto Rico.
“It's been my life's dream to work here in the United States,” she said.
What excited Nicole most was that she was planning to get married in Puerto Rico on New Year's Eve.
The key word was planning. When Hurricane Maria hit, Nicole's family lost everything.
“I'm sleeping in a bed with air conditioning, water. I have everything here. And they don't have anything there,” she said.
After the hurricane, Nicole gave all the money she had to help her family in Puerto Rico. Because of that, she was forced to cancel her wedding, which was heartbreaking, not just for her, but her fellow teachers here at Polser.
“When one of us is in need, everybody comes up. Everybody,” office clerk Linnette Garcia said.
“It was important for her, so it became important for us,” said special education teacher Leigh Morgan.
The staff at Polser got busy planning a wedding.
Morgan got the flowers, Garcia helped plan the reception and Principal Adam Gray became an ordained minister, just so he could perform the ceremony.
“I've never officiated a wedding before, but I didn't hesitate,” he said. “For Nicole, I would do that in a heartbeat.”
The wedding happened two weeks ago. All of it for a woman they'd only known for a few months.
“She's just become family,” Morgan said.
“Family. Yes,” Garcia added.
“She was part of the family the minute she walked up,” Gray said.
“I didn't know that Polsar would be family,” said Nicole. “I thought it was just a job. I'm honored to be in this family.”
And to live happily ever after.