Helping Karen and Don Rebuild

Don and Karen Steyskal lost their home in the devastating  Almeda/Glendower Fire, in Jackson County, Oregon.  

On Tuesday, September 8, fire spread up the Rogue Valley from Ashland, Oregon to the town of Talent, where Don and Karen lived with three dogs and a cat and countless family memories.  In this street view, you can see what remains of their home - the chimney.   Everything was destroyed in the fire.   Thankfully, Karen had saved many family photos to the cloud.  

Karen and I worked together at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for several seasons.  Karen, a highly skilled tailor,  worked with a team to create beautiful costumes.  Before she retired, I benefited from Karen's skill as she patiently coached me, a novice stitcher, on my stitching projects.  The shop even got the chance to congratulate her on the birth of her first great-grand baby.  

During Don's time as mayor of Talent, the town was faced with the closing of the library.  Don captured the town's spirit of resiliency and determination in his aptly named fable, "When the Darkness Came to Talent".  
When The Darkness Came To Talent

A Fable by Mayor Don Steyskal

Once upon a time, nestled in the hills of southern Oregon, there was a small community called Talent. The people of the area were friendly and caring, and proud of where they lived.

One day, a darkness settled over the valley, bringing sorrow and consternation to the people.

"Oh no!" they cried. "What can this be?"

"The Library, Home of the Light of Knowledge, has been closed" came the answer. The people asked, "what can be done to save our Library?"

The people went to Medford, seeking help from the Council of Wizards. The wizards said "We have not the power to lift this darkness. We shall ask for the help of all the people."

Sadly, many of the people said, "We have the 'Net' to provide us light" and they would not help. But the Internet light was cold and hollow.

The people of Talent said "We will help more than before" and again asked the wizards for help. However, once again, they were rebuked.

But the people of Talent cried, even louder "We will help even more than before!"

The Council of Wizards then put forth all of their power and rekindled the "Light of Knowledge". But they had been weakened and could only cause an ember to glow, which lessened, but did not drive away, the darkness.

Then the people of Talent said "Twice we said we would help, NOW WE WILL DO IT!" Then the local magicians created a spell that fanned the ember and caused the "Light of Knowledge" to shine brighter than ever before, and drove the darkness from from the area!

And the people rejoiced, for their beloved Library was once again open for all to use.

The people learned a valuable lesson. It was not the power of wizards, but the willingness of the people, that kept the "Light of Knowledge" burning brightly!

The End

Let's help Karen and Don rebuild their life. 

Donations will go directly to the Steyskals who will determine how they use them - because only they know what they truly need.  Please make a donation if you can, and please share. 


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  • Christina Bagi 
    • $100 
    • 3 hrs
  • Bockus Family 
    • $55 
    • 3 d
  • Lori and Mack Bandler 
    • $100 
    • 10 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $20 
    • 25 d
  • Florence Slomowitz 
    • $90 
    • 1 mo
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Merilee Ford 
Ashland, OR
Karen Steyskal 
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