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
I want to dedicate this post to the heroes of Hurricane Florence.
From the brave members of our United States military and national guard, to local police, fire, rescue, paramedics, etc … THANK YOU for your continued service and efforts. From the municipal and county utilities and government workers laboring around the clock to provide services and aide; to the medical staff, emergency facilities, and hospitals charged to saving lives … THANK YOU. To the churches, synagogues, mosques, and community centers offering their time and love to provide shelter and food to those in need …. THANK YOU. To the animal shelters, kennels, and rescues who are taking in strayed and abandoned animals … THANK YOU.
There are simply too many to list here, and the crisis is still going on so this list will most certainly grow, however I wanted to profile a few stories I have found that have moved me.
Amber Hersel (pictured above) is a civilian Volunteer from Indiana who came to find herself in North Carolina, along with a group of 20 volunteers. She is apart of the Civilian Crises Response Team, an Indiana-based volunteer group that responds to natural disasters and local emergencies and accidents. Hersel and the other volunteers in her group rescued 75 people. See story links below.
Florence Was Volunteer’s 1st Hurricane; She Became Face of Heroes
By Beth Dalbey / Patch National Staff
Learn more about the Civilian Crises Response Team: https://www.7ccrt.org/
Another such civilian group participating in the heroic rescue efforts in Florence’s wake include the Louisiana Cajun Navy who rescued stranded residents in New Bern and other cities as storm surge waters rapidly filled the roadways and flooded homes. The Louisiana Cajun Navy’s Mission (as stated on their website): RESCUE, RELIEVE, REBUILD. “From the under privileged, the homeless, and all veterans in this country, we won’t stand by and watch another person suffer, struggle, and fight for their lives, while the world passes by”.
Learn more about the Louisiana Cajun Navy: https://louisianacn.com/
Southern hospitality doesn’t stop in times of crisis. The owners of Good Boy Hotdogs of Delco, North Carolina set up a roadside stand under the protection only of their umbrella to provide a hot meal to anyone traveling by in need of food. https://www.facebook.com/eyewitnessnewscharleston/videos/hurricane-florence-heroes-grilling-free-grilled-hot-dogs-in-tropical-storm/233722940631853/
On a larger scale Chef Jose Andres set up his World Central Kitchen shop in Wilmington. Their kitchen is full of volunteers cooking food around the clock to be delivered to shelters and emergency workers in flood-stricken areas.
Famed Chef Jose Andres Rallies ‘Heroes’ to Cook Amid Florence’s Floods
By Asher Klein / NBC Chicago 5
Hospitality and charity has spread throughout the region as many people in neighboring areas have been offering shelter and lodging to evacuees. Robert Riker, Leah Van Buren Bolten, Jim Gregory, and Mary Jackson – four such households outside the flood zones are providing refuge to families in need. “We’ve fled our share of Hurricanes. And we know the cost of staying in a hotel and having to eat out can quickly add up at a time when anxiety, fear and uncertainty is high,” Riker told CNN. He and his family live in Waynesville, North Carolina – in the western part of the state. “We just want to offer some relief to someone who has greater worries going on in their life than I do. We’re all in this life together. And we only have each other to rely on,” he added.
These People are Opening their home to Hurricane Florence evacuees
By Gianluca Mezzofiore / CNN
As people fled for their lives they were faced with the conflict and challenge of where to take their animals. Many shelters, animal hospitals, and kennels outside the flood zones have been offering their spaces to provide temporary homes for pets in need.
Camp Bow Wow South Asheville: “We have capacity for another 40 and 50 dogs,” the camp said. “We have already received one request from a nursing home from the North Carolina coastal region for 10 dogs or so.”
Another group of animal rescuers arrived in North Carolina from Big Fluffy Dog Rescue of Nashville, TN. They have saved about 30 dogs and cats from shelters in the path of the hurricane. “We got back in at midnight. It was about 24 hours round trip, so not too bad. Luckily we had some awesome volunteers meet us at our kennel facility to help unload, walk, feed and settle all the fur kids in,” Tiffany Carol Fintel, a Nashville vet technician, told CNN.
Here are a few more Uplifting Stories of Every Day Heroes:
The Heroes of Florence Go Beyond Faces We Expect
By Spectrum News Staff / Spectrum News Charlotte
Hurricane heroes: People helping each other through Florence
By Greenville News / USA Today Network
Meet the Heroes making themselves known during Florence
CBS Evening News (Video)
HOW YOU CAN HELP
I join the masses in thanking all of the people who are stepping forward to assist, provide, donate, and care for others in their time of need. YOU embody the spirit of humanity and the strength of love.
YOU are PEACE.