By Michelle Hogue, Volunteer
Bob Dunham and Patty Girdner evacuated from Yreka and got acquainted through their stay at the Red Cross shelter in Weed. Neither had been in a situation of needing to shelter away from home previously, so they had no idea what to expect when they got there.
Bob and Patty both said they have been “blessed and amazed” by the care they have gotten from the Red Cross volunteers.
Bob, who has lived in Siskiyou County for 44 years, was not in an area of town that was under a mandatory evacuation, but the unpredictability of the situation and his health concerns affected by the smoke brought him to the shelter.
While he was at the shelter, Bob’s dog, Scooter, was being cared for at the Rescue Ranch dog shelter. His growing up as a military dependent and going through earthquake drills when he was a kid in Japan and Hawaii taught him to be prepared always to “go on a moment’s notice.”
Patty was in a similar situation as Bob. She said she would love to be a volunteer when she gets back on her feet, health-wise. Patty said she is very grateful for the support she has received at the Red Cross shelter.
“I’ve never seen the over-abundance of giving like this. I want to volunteer and give back.”
Both Patty and Bob repeatedly expressed how much they appreciated having the shelter available. Both could often be seen trying to help out in some way around the shelter.
Bob said, “I’m happy for what little I’ve been able to do around the shelter.”
“We’re all in the same boat. Everybody has come together,” said Patty. “We are all helping each other.”
As Bob and Patty talk about their evacuation experiences, they remain hopeful and eager to get back to their homes. They both noted, “It’s all about perspective,” that “choosing to live in Siskiyou County means choosing to live with the possibility of wildfire.”
Bob said, “Everyone encounters disasters. Each area has its own kind of potential disaster. How you get through it is with the relief from the Red Cross and other organizations – the people showing up just to make donations was unbelievable. To be hands on with the Red Cross…you guys are wonderful.
“It’s the heart and empathy that makes people want to be Red Cross volunteers and do the amazing things you’re doing here.”
You can support Red Cross disaster relief efforts by making a financial donation at redcross.org/donate.