Good People Doing Good Things — After The Fire

Y’know … sometimes it takes a catastrophic event, a tragedy, to bring out the best in people.  The devastating wildfires in California earlier this month seems to have brought out an awful lot of good in some people and it is those stories I’m bringing you today … those good people who gave of themselves to help others.  None of these good people are millionaires with money to spare, they are all just people like you and me, working every day just to pay the bills.  But they gave of whatever they had, be it food, information, love … they just gave.  These are the real heroes …

The spirit of the team …

The Cougars is the name of the Paradise, California, Adventist school’s volleyball team.  Sadly, as you might expect, they lost everything – equipment, uniforms, their school – in the wildfires that literally burned Paradise to the ground this month.  But those Cougars have spirit, they have energy, and they were determined to play their semifinal championship match on Saturday.

The team they would be playing was Forest Lake Christian High School in Auburn, some 85 miles south of Paradise.  Having already lost so much … some of these girls had lost their homes, as well as their school … they headed to Auburn on that day.  And what did they find?  Brand new uniforms, for starters!Paradise-uniformsCustom jerseys, shorts, knee pads and socks waiting for them as well as truckloads of donated clothes and more than $16,000 in cash and gift cards.  All of which was pulled together by the Forest Lake Christian community in less than 24 hours“I’ve never been so overwhelmed by so many things I would have never thought possible, and this is one of the most amazing things I could ever have thought would happen,” Paradise Adventist coach Jason Eyer said to the crowd. “Your community is awesome, and we are forever grateful.”

Forest Lake won the game, but new friendships were forged as the two teams posed for photos and enjoyed each other’s company.  This is what teamwork, compassion and humanity are all about, my friends.  These young people … bring happy tears, don’t they?

To save a kitty …

Shannon Jay is the man’s name, and he has been spending his days rescuing cats who survived the fire.  There isn’t anything much more vicious than a scared, hurt cat … trust me, I have the scars to prove it!  In this particular kitty rescue, there just happened to be a cinematographer on the scene recording the devastation when the rescue took place.  Take two minutes, if you will, to watch this … this man risked being mauled by this poor petrified cat, and his reaction after the cat was safe, tells a story all its own.  Gronda, get your tissues …

All in a day’s work …

Danny and Arek Zachara are brothers from Poland who migrated to America. They own MDD Exterior Inc. Contracting/Roofing company in Chicago.  We’ve all seen the pictures of the devastation, the lost homes, burned out cars alongside the road, and we’ve heard the stories of the people who barely made it out with their lives … and those who didn’t.  But we probably haven’t given much thought to livestock displaced by the fires.Zachara brothersBut Danny and Arek were farm boys back in the old country and they did think of the animals, how their source of food would have been burned up, so they did what anybody would do … loaded up their truck and started the 4,500-mile round trip journey to Wheeler Ranch and Feed in Biggs, California!  They had a trailer and a pickup truck filled with hay, livestock feed, and dog and cat food.

It wasn’t to be an easy journey.  It took them several days, as they encountered rain, sleet, snow and wind. That didn’t stop them.  A couple times they were snowed in and spent the night in their truck at various truck stops to guard their precious treasures for the animals and victims of the Camp Fire.  Big thumbs up to these guys!

Down on the farm …

Paulina Cortes is a preschool teacher in San Jose, California.  Last Tuesday she spent the day in and around the town of Lodi, an hour-and-a-half drive from her home in San Jose.  Why?  Because in the aftermath of the fires in California, she wanted to do something to help people.  Her thought was “Find a way to give to a community who needs help.”  And she did.  She visited farms in the area with a two-fold purpose:  to provide masks to farm workers in rural communities, and to educate the farm workers about the severity and dangers of the pollution.

“In Lodi yesterday the workers were picking fruit in ‘HAZARDOUS’ labeled air with an AQI [Air Quality Index] of 308… and worst of all is that none of them knew this. Not everyone has access to information that we have access to and what’s important is that we continue to build bridges to reach our communities.”Paulina Cortes

Most of the farmworkers in California are immigrants from Mexico, low-paid, without benefits, and many speak very little English.  Cortes made sure they understood how unhealthy the air is and why it is important they wear the masks she gave them.  Another of those “little things mean a lot” moments.

More than just a burrito …

José Uriarte owns a Mexican food truck restaurant called Gordo Burrito in Chico, California.  José is not a rich man, but in the aftermath of the Camp Fire that razed the town of Paradise, he wanted to help.  So … he pulled that food truck up to an evacuation shelter and did what he does best … started handing out tacos and burritos to the displaced in the shelter.Jose UriarteOn the first day he donated 300 meals at the Chico Elks Lodge refuge. And every day he is giving away food to others in the community who are helping in the state’s deadliest fire: firemen, EMTs, police, social workers, and displaced people in need of a warm meal.

“I’m just a small business owner but I see people and I’m like, ‘Here’s 10 or 15 burritos.’ It’s the least I can do.”food truck

These are good people, my friends.  And there are hundreds more stories like these.  I ask myself, if that happened in my community, what could I do.  What would I do?  Would I give of myself, my time, whatever resources I have available?  I hope I would … I think we never know until we find ourselves in that situation.

21 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — After The Fire

  1. Dear Jill,
    There are time like these that my faith is restored in this USA, knowing that there are lots of good, decent, generous, kind peoples out there. I like to think that this is who we really are. I had my tissues ready. I loved the cat story.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love going in search of these people … and I can always find them! They put to shame the people that you and I write about on a regular basis, don’t they? I was literally sobbing at the end of that cat video … so tragic and yet so heartwarming.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A plethora of good people simply doing what needs to be done without being asked or expecting reward. Each and everyone has earned, as Benjamin would say : “Two thumbs up!” I have no doubt that you would rise up, should an occasion present itself, most likely first in line to help those in need. I will share a quote often attributed to my heroine, Eleanor Roosevelt : “A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” My son gave me a magnet with that quote more than 25 years ago, also attributing it to her. It is actually an Irish proverb from the 1860’s, a bit before Eleanor’s time…but, I love it no matter its origin! Thank-you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wonderful stories…good people doing great things. Felt so for the kitty…hope it finds its owners or a good home. I can just imagine how hard this is on animals as well as humans…to be so afraid, hungry and even hurt!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I think I needed this post today. It has been an awful day in many respects. I think these people are what real humanity is about. I am so glad that we still have it in some people. Many thanks to all the unsung heroes. You know who you are!💕

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m so sorry your day has been awful, my friend, but I’m glad this post lifted your spirits just a bit! I still believe there is more good than evil in most people, though we are all a combination of both. Special hugs to you today! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  5. We must be careful when we tar all people with the same brush. As we see from the Forest Lake Christian Community in your story above, there are good Christians who seek to do the right thing. Great stories, and, as always, inspiring. Have a great week.

    Liked by 4 people

    • You are so right … that’s partly why these Wednesday posts are so important … to remind us not to fall into the trap of believing people are all like the ones I usually write about. Glad you liked the stories! Have a great week yourself, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

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