Isabella Stigen and her boyfriend were camping in Dru Barner Campground near Georgetown, Calif., when they received the notice to evacuate due to the Mosquito Fire. Thankfully, she says, they were in a box truck they had recently bought so they could safely bring their dog and new kitten with them for the trip.
Isabella says they were on their way out when they saw a litter of abandoned kittens. As the evacuation order loomed, they tried to help.
“There were three, and the other two just scattered. They seemed strong. But this one – it was almost like she picked me,” Isabella says.
“There wasn’t enough room for two trucks at our family’s home, so we are just happy we get to be here,” Isabella Stigen says.
Gypsy, as the new kitten is called, is safe with her new family as they wait for evacuation orders to be lifted. They are all staying in the box truck together in the parking lot of the American Red Cross shelter at Sierra Community College in Rocklin where they have access to regular meals, facilities and showers, a mobile laundry service, along with comfort and care from Red Cross volunteers.
“There wasn’t enough room for two trucks at our family’s home, so we are just happy we get to be here,” Isabella said.
Help those affected by wildfires and other disasters across the nation by making a financial donation, big or small, to the Red Cross. For more information on how you can donate call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit redcross.org/donate.
Deidra Cazneaux’s deployment with the California Gold Country Region of the American Red Cross to the McKinney Fire was her first, but it wasn’t obvious.
The McKinney Fire in Siskiyou County displaced some 2,000 residents in late July. That’s when Cazneaux looked straight into the face of the disaster and went right to work.
“I just walked into the shelter kitchen and took over,” she said.
In her days at the shelter, Cazneaux always did her job with a smile, chatting with each evacuee and even advocating for them to ensure partner agencies who provided meals were offering nutritious options.
Shelter manager Bill Hart described Cazneaux, saying, “Deidra is an incredibly positive force in the face of controlled chaos.”
In recognition of her work at the shelter and her positive attitude while on the job, Cazneaux was presented with a Red Cross Disaster Cycle Services challenge coin.
“It’s always been in my heart to serve people,” Cazeneaux said, adding: “It’s an avenue for me to be who God wants me to be.”
The American Red Cross is busy 365 days a year, 24 hours a day turning compassion into action.
When Siskiyou County’s McKinney Fire broke out, the Red Cross was called upon to open an evacuation shelter in Yreka. Within just a few hours, the doors were open.
Once evacuation orders were issued in Yreka, the Red Cross relocated the shelter to the Weed Community Center.
Barbara Leper, 78, and her husband are at the shelter in Weed because they are once again under the threat of losing everything all over again. “Last year we had to run for our lives when our home in Happy Camp burned to the ground in just a few minutes,” Leper said.
The Lepers have lived in beautiful Siskiyou County for nearly 30 years. Regardless of the continuum of wildfires, they are planning to stay put in the Weed community. “We just love it here, it’s our home,” Leper said.
The Red Cross was there for the Lepers last year. Leper shared how the Red Cross helped them along with temporary housing and the essential items they needed.
“The Red Cross kept helping us along the way,” Leper said. “We received another $500 gift certificate in December for food and gas.”
A big thank you to Cowabunga Ice Cream Truck out of Valley Springs for delivering some frozen sweet treats to our shelter in San Andreas this week.
During a wildfire, when our shelter guests have lost so much, something as simple as ice cream can sure boost their spirits!
Cowabunga’s owners posted on Facebook: “A great night visiting evacuees and volunteers in San Andreas. Next stop Amador! Passing out free ice cream for those who have been displaced and those that need a smile on their faces. Fun night.”
Thank you for caring, Cowabunga!
For information on how you can support the American Red Cross during times of disaster, visit redcross.org/donate.
Michelle Symington and Shelley Royce evacuated from their homes in Amador County to escape the Electra Fire burning in Amador and Calaveras counties.
They are staying with their beloved dogs and cat on at the Red Cross shelter located at the Italian Picnic Grounds in Sutter Creek. There, they are provided food, snacks, beverages, health services and a bevy of other support.
“This is the first time we’ve had to evacuate due to a disaster. It’s a tough time for us,” Michelle said. “I’m worried about my husband’s health condition, but he’s being cared for here.
“We’d much rather be home watching ‘Downton Abbey’ but, on the bright side, I’ve met so many people here who have been so kind and helpful. I like to help people so have decided to check into becoming a Red Cross volunteer”.
If you would like to support Red Cross disaster relief efforts, visit redcross.org/donate and click on “Disaster Relief” in the dropdown menu.
By Kim Mailes, American Red Cross public affairs volunteer
For Frieda Ingram, right now “home” is a cot in the American Red Cross emergency shelter in Reno, Nevada. Despite being evacuated from the South Lake Tahoe when wildfires approached her apartment, she’s all smiles and maintains a positive attitude. This is just another bump in a long road that’s been filled with obstacles.
“I’m so grateful for the Red Cross,” she said. “I know I’ll be safe here until this is over.”
By Barbara Wood, Red Cross Public Affairs Volunteer
It’s been more than two weeks since Josephine Hernandez and her six children had 30 minutes to pack their car and to evacuate the looming Caldor Fire, but on Sept. 1 as the family awaited news that they could return to their Pollock Pines home, the children joyfully played on a lawn at the Green Valley Church Red Cross shelter in Placerville.
Hernandez and her six children spent the first two nights after their Aug. 17 evacuation sleeping very close together in the family’s Suburban. Then they heard about the shelter that had been opened at the Green Valley Church in Placerville. After a few more nights in the church parking in two borrowed tents, the family was moved into a classroom at the church.
“It’s been terrible,” Hernandez said. “More than a challenge.”