The residents of our small town community will not forget the Water Wheel Fire.
Hopefully, those who helped with donations to the American Red Cross shelter will also not be forgotten.
It is a unique experience to be a Red Cross volunteer. Registering people into the shelter, who have been told they need to pack up and leave their homes, in itself is a moving experience. While registering these people, hearing phone calls being made by other volunteers to help these evacuees, and then seeing donations pour through the door is heartwarming.
Within hours of the shelter being opened the donations started: home-baked cookies from a young girl and her parents, along with a variety of well thought-out snacks was a start. Then came more: Pizza Hut, snacks and beverages from Bashas’ and Walmart, Boy Scouts cooking a colossal breakfast provided by the LDS church both mornings, a full lunch buffet from Gerardo’s Italian Bistro, snacks and beverages from Allstate Insurance, more of those from Mazatzal Casino, followed by sandwiches. More than 850 meals and snacks were provided by the Red Cross, with at least $2,400 of in-kind donations. KMOG stepped right up to the task, as well as Majestic Mountain Inn and the Super 8 Motel.
Appreciation is what I feel as a member of the Payson community. Appreciation for the firefighters, the incident management team, the police department and all the others out in Beaver Valley and Whispering Pines working diligently to protect the homes of more than 700 evacuees. Appreciation is what I feel for all of those who called or appeared at the shelter asking how they could help, sometimes offering to open their homes to those who had been forced to leave theirs. Appreciation is what I feel for all other individuals who responded to the needs of this community, including Debbie and Gary who generously appeared and worked diligently with us for two days. If you were there and did not get mentioned, please know that what this community feels regarding your efforts: deep and abiding appreciation.
Carol Flowers, Rim Country Branch, Grand Canyon Chapter, American Red Cross