Don Vassola and Myrtle Hovey are at the Red Cross shelter located at the Church of the Nazarene in Oroville. They are dealing with loss and sadness, yet they are hopeful. Both express their concern for the many new friends they have met here at the shelter who have lost their homes to the Camp Fire.
A few days ago, Don learned that he lost his 89-year-old grandmother, Maria. Don said his grandmother was devastated by the loss of the home that she shared with her husband in the town of Paradise.
Don believes that when his grandmother realized the devastation she was facing, it was too much for her to bear. With her home in ashes, Maria began to wander and was lost for a few hours.
Eventually, Maria made her way to a shelter. No one is quite sure how she got there. Luckily, Don’s grandfather managed to reunite with her. Sadly, by then, Don says his grandmother had given up all hope. Don’s grandfather tried to encourage Maria to eat a little food, but she refused and said, “I just want to go home.”
Not long after, Maria passed away.
Shortly after, Don’s grandfather was able to contact Don and Myrtle with the sad news.
Though Don and Myrtle are having challenges of their own, they are praying for the many people around them who have lost so much. And they expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the many people who keep the Oroville Red Cross shelter up and running.
We at the Red Cross, join Don and Myrtle in thanking all volunteers from around the country who have come together to provide shelter, food, and comfort to the many people in need.
Story and photo by Marlene Stamper, American Red Cross volunteer