To the residents of Payson and surrounding communities: A community that was prepared for an emergency and performed like an efficient well-oiled machine with a huge heart thank you.
All of us, as evacuees, came away from our homes as fire approached feeling insecure and wondering when we would return to our communities and what would be left to return to.
We were received by you with open hearts; offers of lodging in private homes, apartments, mobile parks and the evacuation center; food to feed our families through the center and businesses; clothing and other necessities of a personal nature; and the consideration of all those wonderful volunteers who seem to appear magically when needed.
All of you can't realize what it meant to all of us unless you have been through something like this yourself.
The efficiency of the kitchen at the evac center was a marvel to witness. The meals prepared from day one were a tribute to the skills of many people (oh, that Italian chef was a joy to behold), and all those involved were a pleasure for us.
The churches and their joint effort under great leadership provided clothing for the body, help for the needy, and solace for the soul. Thank you.
Thank you to the Scouts young people who proved to be valuable citizens in your community; to the young ladies and older persons who worked together to keep the building functioning with all the clean-up work; and to those great people in the golf carts who helped us older and handicapped people get back and forth in the heat.
All of the medical help, the chiropractors, masseurs, dentists well, you were there when we needed you.
This is a sincere and love-extended thank-you from all of us Heber/Overgaard, Forest Lakes and all points east in the fire area to you all of the people of the Payson area.
Thank God for the pre-planning you had done in your community that enabled you to take care of us from day one.
I would like to be able to name each one of you, but that is literally impossible you are so many.
With all our love and prayers for each of you.
BJ Gillingham, Resident speaking for all of us at the evac center