Just over a year ago, August 14, 2019, I wrote a ‘good people’ post that included a story about Woody Faircloth who, along with his then-7-year-old daughter, Luna, started a non-profit, RV4CampfireFamily, to purchase RVs for people whose homes had been destroyed by the devastating Camp Fire that killed 85 people and destroyed 14,000 homes, leaving over 50,000 people homeless. At the time I wrote that post, Mr. Faircloth and his organization had provided RVs for temporary housing to 65 families, and ultimately provided RVs for 80 families.As we all know, this year has brought in a new batch of devastating wildfires on the West Coast, and Woody Faircloth is back on the job.
As a wildfire tore through Berry Creek, California, last month, it destroyed the homes of six of the community’s seven volunteer firefighters along with the department’s fire station. Nonetheless, the firefighters kept on doing their job, rescuing people, trying to put out fires and save homes even after having lost their own.Berry Creek is only about 14 miles from Paradise, where last year’s Camp Fire was centered, and the Berry Creek fire department had helped with that one too, so they were already known to Woody Faircloth. Faircloth described the fire chief, Reed Rankin, as “a big bear of a man. He’s always got a cigar in his mouth, and he loves his community.” Chief Rankin was among the ones whose homes had been destroyed. Losing his home forced Rankin to sleep in his truck. He says he lost more than $100,000 worth of tools for his drilling business.Faircloth and Luna sourced a brand-new RV for him and delivered it personally. When they arrived, Faircloth says, the chief had nothing left but the clothes he was wearing. The RV, which Rankin will share with another one of his firefighters, has several pop-outs and a living room. Upon seeing the RV, Rankin told Faircloth, “It’s shocking; it’s amazing.” While thanking him, the fire chief added, “It’s a home, somewhere to call home for now. … Winter is coming on here in another month and a half, and at least we have somewhere to be.”
I am unable to embed the video that accompanies this story, but you can find it on the CNN Heroes page.
Despite all he lost, Rankin says he is not leaving Berry Creek …
“I’m definitely going to somehow rebuild. Hopefully, FEMA will help us out. And I’m just gonna do the best we can, but I’m not leaving.”
Katherine Molohon is another Berry Creek firefighter now living in a mobile home provided by Faircloth’s organization. She learned that she lost her home while on the job.
“We were driving through, trying to get people evacuated, drove by my house — I said, ‘Bye house’ and kept going.”
The fire forced Molohon and her partner to live in a shed on her mother’s property before EmergencyRV.org provided shelter. After seeing the RV that would become their temporary home, Molohon described it as “so wonderful. It’s more than words can say. This is just awesome.”
Between last year’s fires and this year’s, though, Woody and Luna have not been idle, but have expanded their mission. They responded to the coronavirus pandemic by partnering with a Facebook group called RVs 4 MDs to provide mobile homes to frontline medical workers so they could self-isolate while continuing to fight the pandemic. They changed the name of their non-profit to EmergencyRV in order to reflect the broader scope of the project.
They are fielding requests from people who lost homes in the storms that hit the Gulf Coast as well as the Iowa derecho. They are also working to find RVs for firefighters in Oregon. You’ve just got to love this man and his daughter … they are doing so much to help so many …
Faircloth describes his nonprofit as a win-win for the people donating RVs and those receiving them.
“People have RVs that may be used once or twice a year, or maybe they don’t use them anymore at all. When they donate them to us, we can immediately deploy them to people that need them most. … It’s super powerful and just an amazing gift from the donors.”
Now, the main ‘good people’ here are obviously Woody Faircloth and his daughter Luna, but I think the firefighters who are risking life and limb to battle these horrendous fires round the clock every year, and the selfless first responders who are working tirelessly to save lives, and those who donate to the cause deserve a shout out as well.
Thank you, firefighters, doctors, nurses, and every other person who is taking risks to help the rest of us. There are no words adequate to express our gratitude for all that you do without expectation of receiving anything in return. Our hearts go out to you, and you have reminded us that there are people … lots of people … in this world who care.