Snapshots from Red Cross Shelter at Middletown High School
By Susanne Lafaver, Red Cross volunteer
Many first-time Lake County fire evacuees sought shelter at the American Red Cross shelter at Middletown High School during the Mendocino Complex Fire.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” said Daniel Waggoner of Lakeport. “We felt welcomed right away. The Red Cross really cared about my wife and me, and didn’t leave us until they were we each had a cot, blanket, toiletries, water, snacks, and everything we needed.”
“Staying with our 7-month-old puppy was especially important to us,” said Waggoner’s wife, Jennifer. “Red Cross volunteers gave us a dog crate so we could stay in the shelter which allowed pets. We were so glad to be there.”
Recent widow Stella Tafoya arrived at the shelter with her dog, Chica, bewildered and unsure. “I was afraid I would run out of gas because I drove from Lakeport to a Kelseyville shelter, but then that shelter was evacuated to Middletown,” she said. Because of her recent knee surgery, Tafoya received a special, padded comfort cot and blanket.
Former volunteer firefighter Martin Klier got to the Middletown shelter via Cobb Mountain with his wife, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and various other family members, as well as his brother-in-law’s ten milking goats.
Evacuating with her cat challenged Betty Lou Surber of Lakeport, but she said the Red Cross made comfortable and offered a pet leash for Surber to exercise the animal.
Youngsters at the shelter were entertained with glitter tattoos by Chayo Mosqueda, owner of a Lake County face painting and body art business.