During the devastating Northern California fires this past October, every person who fled their homes — and in many cases, lost them — has a story to tell. So do the many Red Cross people who heroically stepped up to help in response to one of the most destructive weeks of fires in the state’s history.
Category Archives: NorCal Fires (Fall 2017)
American Red Cross volunteer Sierra Marcelius received the Gene Beck Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award in June of this year. When asked what the award meant to her on a personal level, Sierra reflects, “At the time it didn’t mean a lot; I didn’t do this to get an award. But now that I’ve left, it means a great deal. The people that I worked with thought I did a good job and valued my contribution to the team.” Read more
A note from Stephanie Willett, Regional Director, Development Operations & Foundations:
I’m summarizing the attachments as slightly tricky to read.
A lovely note from Kyra Janssen in Santa Rosa. A gentleman gave Kyra a “fire discount” on a new coffee table. She’s working to “recreate a new home” after hers was destroyed on October 9th last year in the North Bay Fires. He also offered to make a gift to an organization of her choice. She asked him to make a gift to the Red Cross.
The note was sent with a $50 check to us – and with thanks to the Red Cross from both of them.
As our recovery work on multiple California wildfires continues, and as we jump with energy into supporting relief operations for so many impacted by the current storms – I’m so moved by this note, sent almost a year after Kyra lost her home. To me, this note speaks to the incredible strength of our Red Cross team and the enduring impact of our work for so many people.
Below are the contents of a letter sent to our offices by a grateful recipient of Red Cross services during the North Bay wildfires. They asked to remain anonymous but were happy to share their perspective.
June 27, 2018
Dear Red Cross Angels,
When the fire devoured [my home], it vaporized every vestige of my life, including my very identity-and it nearly vaporized me. I escaped, barefoot, with only seconds to spare. As I approached the Veterans Memorial Hall, at around 4:30 AM., I was struck by the realization that, for the first time in my adult life (at age 77), I was utterly helpless and at the mercy of strangers. For a man who had always felt extremely strong, capable, and independent, it was a shock, and I was apprehensive about what might lie before me. Read more
When Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, George Dresnek explored ways to help and found himself in an American Red Cross call center in Oakland. He now regularly deploys for the Red Cross as a facilities expert to 6 to 7 disaster responses a year, volunteer work that can take him away for up to 28 days at a time. Acknowledging the incredible sacrifices he makes on behalf of those in need, George readily credits his wife for this generosity. “I retired in 2012,” he smirks, describing his ongoing availability for service. “But she was the one who told me to ‘get a hobby.’” Read more
By Virginia Becker
The fires that broke out in the Napa area began around 11 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, 2017. A weather phenomenon known as the “Diablo winds” contributed to fueling this fire and turning a great portion of the Napa Valley into a raging inferno. Read more
By Monique Dugaw (10-2017)
Veronica Padillah is staying at the Red Cross shelter at Napa Valley Community College along with 10 of her family members, including her grandchildren, Jeremy (25 days old) and Rosa (5 years), who are pictured with her.