Comfort in the Face of Adversity

Janet Kirkland has been in the Hunter’s Valley community for the past thirty years and can make anyone smile. If there is one thing you need to know about Janet, it is that she is tenacious and that she is going to stay positive throughout the Detwiler Fire.

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Janet Kirkland shares her story with a Red Cross worker at a local shelter. Photo: Eddie Zamora, American Red Cross

One thing that brought her comfort, was that she had her emergency bag ready to go. With a suitcase in hand packed for three days, a fireproof case with her important documents, and her dog, Janet was able to evacuate in less than five minutes. Knowing that it is fire season, her thoughtful preparedness gave her peace of mind and had her most valuable items with her as she left her home.

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Clean cots and brand new Red Cross blankets are ready for residents at the Mariposa Elementary School shelter. Photo: Dan Halyburton, American Red Cross

With her possessions in tow, Janet just needed a safe place to stay. That’s when she found herself at a shelter in Oakhurst, ran by the American Red Cross of the Central Valley.

“I would have been sleeping in my car if Red Cross didn’t have a shelter for me,” Janet said.

At the height of the sheltering operation, the Red Cross housed nearly 300 residents in one night across seven different shelters. Hundreds more came to the shelters to receive meals, snacks, water, fire information, health services, and more.

One of those shelters was the Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church in Oakhurst. The church’s property manager Charles Fisher and his wife Marianne found comfort in the face of adversity.

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Charles and Marianne Fisher pose with a Red Cross meal at the Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church in Oakhurst. Photo: Eddie Zamora, American Red Cross

“This is our community’s disaster,” said Marianne. When it comes to the Red Cross volunteers, “we couldn’t have asked for better people.”

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Meals are ready to serve at the Red Cross shelter located at Mariposa Elementary School. Photo: Dan Halyburton, American Red Cross

Since the fire first began on Sunday, July 16, the Red Cross has provided 960 overnight shelter stays, served 13,250 meals and snacks, passed out over 430 comfort kits, and supplied nearly 1,600 recover items such as gloves, shovels or clean up kits.

As evacuation orders continue to lift and residents begin to return home, the Red Cross is shifting focus to help families focus on recovery. Volunteers will be present at the Local Assistance Center at Mariposa High School on Tuesday, where the Red Cross will be meeting one-on-one with each family to determine how to help them on the path to recovery.

HOW TO HELP

Financial donations are still the best and quickest way to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Call, click, or text to give: visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text “RED CROSS” to 91999 to make a donation to your local Red Cross region.

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The Detwiler Fire has destroyed over 60 homes. Red Cross will be there to help families recover.

Follow the local Red Cross on Facebook and Twitter for additional updates on Detwiler Fire relief efforts.

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One thought on “Comfort in the Face of Adversity

  1. I have been trying to make a monetary donation online ever since the Detwiler Fire started but it does not accept my input, even after trying a different credit card. What gives?

    Like

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