Four high school football players from Sapulpa, Oklahomo, executed a real Hail Mary play last month, when they ran into a burning home and rescued a 90-year-0ld woman. The boys were passing by the home when they spotted the fire and rushed in through a back door. Nick Byrd, 14, found Catherine Ritchie in a smoke-filled hallway, picked her up, and carried her outside. In a heartfelt blog post, Richie’s daughter Missy Ritchie Nicholas thanked the teens “for being the kind of young men who thought about another person above themselves”.
Recently my home State of California has been ravaged from the north where I grew up to the south where I live. This past month has been a tragedy of epic proportions … I take that back this entire past year has been one for the books with regard to horrendous and disastrous fires. There is no way to sugar coat this; lives have been lost and livelihoods have been destroyed but what is persevering is the human spirit to survive even amongst the most dire circumstances. I am continually humbled and inspired by these people I read about and I wanted to dedicate this post to that very spirit of human nature seeking out love, peace, and hope when darkness surrounds.
At this time of year when most of us are preparing to celebrate the Holidays I want to recognize and bring to light those who are suffering and in need, and those who are stepping up to help. Please take a moment to look at the links at the end of this post to find out how you can help as well.
Amazing stories of Peace, Charity, Love, and Community during the 2018 Camp and Woolsey Fires
1. As the fire neared, this 93-year-old knew she had to get out. Then her garbageman showed up.
When Margaret Newsum saw the news that the Camp Fire was not far from her home, the 93-year-old knew she’d have to evacuate. But her caregiver wasn’t around that morning to take her. And when Newsum went to call for help, her electricity shut off and phone service went down.
So she got her medicine and other vital needs together and walked out of her home in Magalia, California, hoping somebody would come by and help her. Salvation soon came in the form of a garbage truck.
“I was standing there when I looked up and saw this great, big, green monster truck barreling down the street,” Newsum told CNN.
Around that time, Dane Ray Cummings, a Waste Management driver, had been told to cut his trash collection route short and head home as the Camp Fire neared. But he wanted to finish his route, and he had a mind to check on some houses with elderly or disabled residents.
Cummings drove up to find Newsum waiting for him. And once he realized she needed to evacuate, he knew what he had to do.
“He said you’re going with me,” Newsum recalled.
Story by Eric Levenson, CNN
2. California fires: For one man in the Camp fire evacuation zone, carrying for animals and checking properties keep him busy.
Jeff Evans steers his white Dodge Ram along a narrow dirt road, scanning the blackened trees and ashen ground for two skittish dogs.
They come running when they hear the truck, and Evans offers them dog biscuits from the big red box of Milk-Bones he keeps on his floorboard. Good, he said, giving them a pat. They’re doing OK. He can move along.
Checking on the dogs is just one chore on Evans’ list. He’s one of a handful of people left in Concow, Calif., a mountain hamlet tucked deep in the woods that has been under mandatory evacuation orders since the Camp fire tore through here Nov. 8. If he leaves, he can’t get back in.
His neighbors stuck on the outside have been emailing him requests. Because the gas in the generator powering his electricity — and his internet — is limited, he hops online for a few minutes each day, answers their questions and gets going.
“Every single morning until the afternoon, I’m huffing it,” Evans said. “I’m going and going and going. There’s pigs to feed and goats and ducks and chickens.”
Not to mention the eight dogs he’s rescued.
“We’re stuck here anyhow,” he added. “We may as well do something valuable.”
Written by Haily Branson-Potts, LA Times
More Stories of Kindness, Love, and Compassion
Primary Reference: Story by Abby Hamblin / The San Diego Union-Tribune
Ways you can help!
- American Red Cross – California Wildfires (select from the dropdown)
- North Valley Animal Disaster Group
- Butte County Camp Fire Rescued Animals – A great website with links and resources
- The Salvation Army – California Wildfire Relief Now