Amy’s interview is live: https://www.fox23.com/video?videoId=875135636&videoVersion=1.0&utm_source=homestream&utm_medium=landing_page&utm_campaign=homestream_click
Please help raise awareness.
Helping out our family and PCC old school friends in Paradise who lost everything in the heartbreaking fires caused by #CampFire on 11/08/2018. Hi guys, thanks for your support! I'm Miriam and I grew up in Paradise, CA... an amazing tight-knit community where many of my friends and family were affected by #CampFire.
We currently have 18 families from our close circle who lost everything and others who have been unable to check on the status of their homes due to the current high alert situation... and sadly, that's probably not all of them.
This past weekend, my hometown of Paradise, was destroyed by a wildfire #Campfire.
Last Thursday, November 8th at noon CST – I got a call from my mom who said “Sorry to bother you at work. Please pray for us – we need to evacuate Paradise. There is a concern about a fire.”
At the time, I didn’t realize the seriousness of the call. My mom had sounded calm but concerned.
An hour later, I got a call from my sister, Miriam. She couldn't get a hold of my parents and wanted to know if I had heard anything. Nothing. Phones were down. We wouldn’t hear from them until hours later.
We were glued to Facebook and online news coverage to see what was going on. It was serious, and it was deadly. We didn’t realize this fire would literally destroy our whole hometown.
Facebook posts began to appear from our high school friends who had escaped. Most just in time and most with just the clothes on their backs. They hadn’t gotten an evacuation notice; neighbors called neighbors to tell them to get out.
In the past, during conversation with others about Paradise, the thing I heard most often when I mention my town was “Oh yeah, my grandma or grandpa or elderly aunt or uncle live there.” So do my grandparents – I tell them. It is a retirement community with most of the population being over the age of 65. I worry about whether they were able to evacuate the many nursing homes that were in the area.
￼My grandma and my sister Elizabeth
At the time of the fire, I had one remaining grandma who was still alive. At the age of 88, she still lived alone and was still active. My parents had been traveling throughout Southern California and Washington state, but by the grace of God were in Paradise at the time of the fire. They were staying at my grandma’s like we normally do whenever we need a place to go. As we would hear several hours later, they got a call from friends who told them they need to get out. My parents packed up what they could. My dad told my grandma to get as much stuff as she could. My grandma packed stuff for her animals. She had gone through evacuations before – she didn’t think at the time – it would be different than the other times they had been told to leave. She didn’t bring any photo albums or mementos – only a small bag of clothes and stuff for her two dogs and 1 cat. They piled into two cars – my mom in one car and my dad and grandma in the other.
A drive to Chico that normally takes 20 minutes took them 3 hours in bumper to bumper traffic with fire on both sides of the road. Praying the whole way down, they eventually made it to my sister, Elizabeth’s apartment in Chico. My sister prepared them lunch. They had a fitfully night of sleep as they had to continually watch to see if Chico would be evacuated since the fire could not be contained.
The next morning, they decided to leave Chico; the smoke was thick and the air quality was bad. They were concerned for my grandma’s health. Now my sister packed her belongings and joined the caravan heading south. A friend let them stay in their home in Yuba City; they were able to sleep the night. With news of Paradise being a total disaster, they continued their trek south to my aunt’s home in Wildomar (Southern California). They were 3 hours from her home when they just couldn’t drive anymore – the exhaustion and stress had caught up to them. My uncle and aunt were gracious enough to drive up there and help them drive the rest of the way down. They had a room prepared for my grandmother and she was finally able to take a breath and rest.
Yesterday, we got visual confirmation that my grandmother’s home was destroyed. It was a home that my family stayed in many times; many Thanksgivings and Christmas were spent there. For a season during my high school years, my family lived with my grandparents. Their home was a place of comfort, safety and stability. It is hard to imagine it is not there. There was talk of Christmas in Paradise this year; but sadly this year – it was not to be.
In the midst of this tragedy, I am thankful that my grandma and parents and sister are alive and safe. My grandma’s home is gone, but our memories from there will still live on.
￼Grandma's home after the fire
As I read through Facebook, the 20+ families we know and love from Paradise were able to evacuate safely and are scattered among friends and family’s home. I am THANKFUL they made it out. Most are in shock with just the clothes on their backs. Their homes are lost and they are having to face the daily realities of what to feed their families, where to stay, and what to do for a job now.
When our family moved from the mission field of the Philippines to Paradise, we were embraced by a community that would give the shirt off their back to help someone else. They are the most kind and generous people on the face of the earth. It is now time for us to help them.
￼Grandma's home before the fire
This community is dear to my sister’s and I’s heart, we know 20+ families that were directly affected by #Campfire, including my grandmother and parents. We have started a go fund me account for these families. We would love our Tulsa community to be a part of this campaign. The immediate need is to provide these families with breathing room – funds to use for food, clothing, and shelter. Funds to breathe, so they can then tackle and navigate all the paperwork and decisions regarding permanent housing and job situations. Many of our friends did have insurance, but it will take time and paperwork to get those funds.
Secondly, depending on how much we can raise, we do have one family that is dear to our hearts that did not have insurance who lost everything. We would like to do something extra special for them.
We would love for you to bring awareness to this cause and help our dear friends and family in Paradise, this is the go fund me account we have set up for them:https://www.gofundme.com/support-paradise
I am happy to answer any questions you have.
Amy & Miriam
Families from PCC that we are aware of currently (and we will keep adding to this list as we get more information): Jaegers, O'Shaughnessy, Arneys, Fletchers, Tim & Laurie Truitt, Buss Families, Carol Witt, the Lightbodys, McKims, Fishell's, Bennett Families, Campbell Family, Ivy's family, Fickerts, McCann Families, Ralstons, Corinne Witt, Van Stavern Family.
Funds will be used for immediate needs: food, shelter, clothing, water and once we have a more clear view will be used for restoring where we can and rebuilding where possible.
Please send this to your immediate friends, colleagues, workplaces so we can help fund victims of this tragic disaster.