Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sometimes, I Like People.

Fire in the mountains is a big deal. I mean, nobody smiles when their house is consumed by flames, but when your house sits on the edge of a National Forest, fire is a REALLY big deal. Everybody has a mental what-can-I-pack-in-five-minutes list, along with, hopefully, two routes out to the highway. It's not a paralyzing fear, but something that's in the back of your mind - like earthquakes, if you live in southern California, or tornadoes if you live in Kansas, or Justin Bieber moving home if you live in Canada.

So, when the page went out yesterday afternoon for a structure fire...on a windy our one and only trailer park...which is across the road from our one and only school...people took notice. Fortunately, the fire was contained to one trailer. Unfortunately, while the elderly occupant escaped unharmed, the trailer and all its contents were a complete loss.

That, of course, is not the thing that made me like people again. It's this: within an hour of the fire, the following posts started appearing on the community Facebook page:

"Is the old man that lives there ok?"

"Oh no! How can we help him?"

"Please, how can we help?"

" I called and left a message with the fire department."

"Let me see what I can find out."

That last post was me. I wasn't on the fire call - stuck at work - but Daddy was, and within a few minutes I was on the phone with the land owner, who drove from an hour away to 'see to' the home owner. I got basic info, and posted simply the following to a local for sale page:

"Older gentleman in High Rolls lost his home to a fire this afternoon. He got out with just the clothing on his back. If anyone can spare ANYTHING, I can take items at the public library (children's desk) and get them to him. His clothing sizes are: med/large shirt, size 34 waist, size 9 1/2 shoes. He will need household items as well - I can take smaller things now, not big items yet. Thank-you!"

I had barely hit send when I had a check for $30 sitting on my desk. Half an hour later, a woman showed up with a box of food and kitchen items, her little boy in tow.

"Me and my family can gather quite a bit of stuff together."

"Where can I send some food?"

"Ill bring some cloths by tomorrow gotta go dig them out and wash them"

"I will go thru Tony's things in the morning and come by the library."

"ive got some britches 34 36 if some one come s by to get them and probably more when i look"

and so on, and so on - 62 comments at the moment, and many many shares. You can count our local businesses on one hand, and they all jumped in without being asked - putting out donation jars, offering to be drop-off points. People have offered furniture and appliances once he has a place to move into - and labor to help get that place ready.

One of my favorites came at last night's 4H meeting. About half the kids attend the nearby school, with the other half home schooled. Many have parents in the fire department. As soon as the adult leader brought up the fire, they were all over it.

"What do you think we could do to help him out?"

One young man suggested donating money, but the club president pointed out that they didn't have any. A lemonade stand was suggested. A young lady suggested donating clothes (making for an interesting mental visual). Another young man suggested collecting scrap metal and building him a shelter. That idea was met with much enthusiasm, but the no-fun adults hastily pointed out that he had a place to stay. They finally hit on a canned food drive (much to said adults' relief).

You know, like any community, large or small, we bicker. We gossip, we complain about our neighbor's dog barking (sorry about that, btw, we're trying to train her not to). But, when something happens, and complete strangers, young and old, jump up to help - well, I have enough warm fuzzy feelings to get me through the rest of the winter!

So, today - hooray for people!

Update: There is now a gofundme account set up for Jim, at

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully put, Ami, about a beautiful community. Thank you for sharing.