Author Archives: Cynthia Shaw

Optimistic evacuee looking on the bright side of life

By Kathleen Maclay, Red Cross volunteer

Lori Rose of Lucerne isn’t one to let life pass her by – whether the nearly 84-year-old is making the most of being a Mendocino Complex Fire evacuee in a Red Cross shelter at Middletown High or zipping along Highway 20 bordering Clear Lake in a motorized scooter with a bright balloon trailing behind her.

To some, Rose’s life may sound challenging. After all, she’s blind in her right eye, she has diabetes, sometimes experiences vertigo and lost her husband to brain cancer in 1993.

But as she recounts being evacuated for the first time, it’s clear that Rose sees the glass as half full. Read more

Small kindnesses make the biggest differences

by Kathleen Maclay, Red Cross volunteer

A tired Rose Santana went from table to table at the crowded Local Assistance Center (LAC) in Lucerne on Monday. She was looking for help and getting it.  Signing up for Social Security, getting a temporary ID from the Department of Motor Vehicles, learning she needed a letter confirming she had lived in a motorhome on a friend’s Upper Lake land off White Rock Canyon Road from which she evacuated due to the Mendocino Complex Fire.

Santana, 64 and a Lake County resident since 1991, needed one more thing: a place to store her belongings – all contained in two rolling suitcases and a duffle bag. Read more

Community Connections Aids Recovery for Wildfire Survivors 

By Patricia Kemp, Red Cross Volunteer

Connie Sager didn’t hesitate when her phone started buzzing Aug. 3 with evacuation alerts. She scooped up her tiny dog, Taz, and headed for safe shelter. It was the third time this year Connie fled wildfires. But this time she had no home to return to in Spring Valley.  The Mendocino Complex Fire swallowed the place she lived for 35 years. What remained were melted bedframes, a charred refrigerator, and clothes smoldered to gray ash.

“My house is a total loss, red-tagged. I’m not processing it yet,” she said. Read more

World Central Kitchen Arrives to Support Mendocino Complex Shelters

By Kathleen Maclay, Red Cross Volunteer

On the menu for lunch on Monday, August 6th for Red Cross shelters serving the evacuees of the Mendocino Complex Fire: 1,000 servings of non-spicy vegetable Thai curry and mixed green salad – the first of many meals coming their way from the World Central Kitchen, launched by famed Chef José Andrés after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Read more

Lake County Strong


My name is Jeff Baumgartner, and I am the Executive Director of the American Red Cross of the California Northwest Chapter, which serves the one million residents of Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Humboldt, and Del Norte Counties.

Lake County has been struck by four years of unprecedented wildfires. Each time tragedy has struck, this community responded heroically. Your Red Cross team, of mostly volunteers, has been honored to be here to serve alongside this community during each one of these emergencies. Representing your local Red Cross team, I want you to know that we try to learn from each response to do better in the future. Since 2015 we have steadily made changes to our policies and readiness to better serve the community, but we have more work to do. I am so thankful for the community leaders and partners who have already reached out to help make those changes together. Read more

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