There are many people and animals I helped that are undocumented. My hard drive crashed and 90% of my data was lost. Below are a few examples in which I had some information to share.
An Example of Several Lives Positively Impacted ~ Redwood Complex Fire (2017)
Kira and Cody are long-time residents of Mendocino County and lost their rental home in the Redwood Valley Complex Fire. They both work full time and could not afford replacement housing because they were burdened by rental restrictions and an expensive housing market.
The day their beautiful triplets were born, property management companies would no longer rent a 1 bedroom to them. They were required to rent 3 bedrooms because local property managers required 2 people per bedroom.
I called a property management company and verified that was true. Within a month this family received a donated RV. The family’s goal now is to save money so that they can buy their own home within the next 2 years.
Awarding an RV to this family was a very significant event that I will always cherish. These parents have a very challenging task of raising triplets. Seeing such toddler cuteness made the immense sacrifice worthwhile. (See more here.) I hope their dreams come true.
An Example of a Tip from a Survivor (Valley Fire 2015)
Below is an example of one of our survivor tips from the Valley Fire of 2015. To obtain this tip I created a direct mailing for survivors with emergency recovery information. I paid for this mailing out of my own property damage money and was not reimbursed. I did it because it was the right thing to do, and I had to have faith that somehow the good I did would come back to me.
Homeowners lack good advice on propane tank safety, which is why TipsFromSurvivors.org chose to invest resources on this topic for you. The immense destructive power these tanks contain can result in loss of loss of life and homes, even ENTIRE blocks of homes being destroyed. And in fact, that is what witnesses during the fire storm saw.
(This video is a draft, and has not been released to the public yet.)
What Happened to Jennifer’s Family
Jennifer lacked any guidance from her propane vendor and was told by her homeowners association that she was required to have an aesthetic enclosure around her tank. During the firestorm, this area surrounding her tank burned, causing the tank to vent and as you can see by the fire line in the grass, the tank torched her house.
Throughout her neighborhood a chain reaction of houses and tanks burned out of control. If the tanks did not have burning material around them, the risk of the surrounding homes burning would have been greatly reduced.
What I find ironic in this situation, is that this website exists to fight against profit-oriented behavior that destroys common sense, resulting in expensive mistakes. In the scenario below both the HOA and homeowners value aesthetics and it’s perceived impact on home valuation more than fire safety. Furthermore propane vendors renting tanks don’t seem to have a significant interest in upgrading to safer tanks or educating their customers.
This is a recipe for disaster. To learn more about propane safety, visit here.
Another Example of a Life Positively Impacted ~ Valley Fire (2015)
Russell is a poet laureate who taught writing to inner-city children in hopes of bettering their lives and society as a whole. While walking home from teaching a class he was attacked. As a result Russell suffered a fractured skull and lost hearing in his right ear.
After the attack Russell felt conflicted. He said “I don’t want to be afraid of the very community that I serve. I have elected to teach in these communities because I feel like the children deserve all the enrichment they can get.”
Rather than succumb to fear, Russell did start teaching again, despite severe headaches and cognitive consequences. “This is making me realize how much my services are needed,” he said. “We have to combat the culture of violence.”
Because of his injuries he eventually moved from the bay area and became a security guard at a remote resort called Harbin Hot Springs. Ten years later he lost his home and job on the same day as a result of the Valley Fire of 2015. And to make matters worse, because his employer was technically a church, he wasn’t eligible for unemployment insurance!
With nowhere to turn for refuge he bounced on the streets for 3 months. Then he was offered a job at Sierra Hot Springs, if he could acquire his own RV because they had no housing to offer. That’s when Kimberly Carr, co-founder of RVsWithoutBorders learned about Russell. He has been an important employee of the resort and lived in this RV for over 2 years.
Now he has three options in his life that surpass what most people would have the opportunity to entertain in their lifetime. One of those surprised us both. (I can only share in private conversation.)
Bottom line is, you just never know the importance that your effort can have on the life of another, no matter how small it may seem.
Friends always, we are! And that is the gift of participating in an endeavor like this, rather than waiting on government aid which may or may not come post-disaster.
Meet Russell at 1m30 seconds. The video overall gives you a glimpse into our world of assisting with emergency housing.
While interviewing survivors recently, some kind words shared about this project. There is no way in the world to convey the depth of people’s lives touched, but I have acquired better skills along the way to be able to share more of an insider view in the future.
Based on hard-earned wisdom acquired in this work, there is significant ability to help more people in the future.