|7/17/2012 12:01:00 AM|
'Stuff is just stuff'
Retired teachers get schooled at Colo. fire
|Ken Hedler/The Daily Courier|
Marlene and Bob Haynes of Prescott stand in front of an American Red Cross emergency response vehicle that they drove to Colorado Springs, Colo., to aid victims of the Waldo Canyon Fire, the worst wildfire in Colorado history.
The Daily Courier
PRESCOTT - American Red Cross volunteers Bob and Marlene Haynes saw the devastation to neighborhoods that the worst wildfire in Colorado history caused recently.
"This destruction was so awful," Marlene said Sunday morning, referring to the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs. "There was very little left except ash and twisted metal. There were whole neighborhoods and streets like that where houses burned down completely. The heat (from the fire) was 2,000 degrees plus."
However, Marlene said one lesson that she learned from the fire is "stuff is just stuff. Yes, there are memories. What is important is that people are still alive. There were only two fatalities."
Marlene and Bob, retired teachers who have been married 47 years, took part in a national deployment to aid victims of the fire. The deployment amounted to the longest trip they have made in five years of volunteering for the Red Cross after moving to Prescott from La Verne, Calif.
Red Cross officials called them at 9 p.m. June 29, and they were on the road with an emergency response vehicle at 9:30 a.m. the next day, Marlene said. The vehicle, which resembles an ambulance, carries six containers that keep food hot or cold.
The Grand Canyon Chapter of the Red Cross in Phoenix sent the Hayneses and two other volunteers to Colorado Springs, chapter communications officer Trudy Thompson Rice said.
Ironically, the Hayneses departed on the same day that the Spence wildfire broke out in the Prescott National Forest west of the Emmanuel Pines church camp.
The fire came within a half-mile of their home, and the Yavapai County Sheriff's Posse dropped by their house that day, they learned two days later from a neighbor.
The Hayneses made the 840-mile trip, and immediately went to work supplying 300 hot meals to an evacuation center after arriving at noon July 1. The Salvation Army and a Southern Baptist church prepared the meals that the couple delivered.
After serving meals on the first and second days, the Hayneses loaded the back of their vehicle with bottled water, snacks, and cleanup and comfort kits (toiletries), and distributed the contents at an elementary school. The cleanup kits contained brooms, bleach, sponges, rakes, gloves and other items for homeowners to sift through their properties for personal effects.
The Hayneses said authorities opened up the neighborhoods from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning July 3 so that displaced residents could sift through what remained of their homes.
The couple spent six days driving in neighborhoods and handing out comfort and cleanup kits.
Marlene said she and her husband asked the displaced residents whether they stayed with relatives or friends.
Bob said, "The majority of those last six days was (spent) listening."
Marlene said the residents were "so thankful for the help," adding dozens displayed handmade signs thanking firefighters and other first responders.
She described the long days spent aiding residents as "exhausting hours, not so much that it was physical but because it was emotional. It was hard seeing how it (the fires) has affected families."
The fire, which started June 23, destroyed 346 homes and burned 18,247 acres, according to Brian Gomez, a communications specialist with the Grand Canyon Chapter who transferred recently from Colorado Springs to Phoenix. The fire prompted the evacuation of 32,000 people.
The Hayneses drove home this past Tuesday.
"What we gained was meeting with hundreds of people and hearing their stories," Bob said.
The Red Cross is seeking more volunteers, Thompson Rice said. For more information, log onto www.arizonaredcross.org.
Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Article comment by:
Explains so much
Not being of the WWII generation, it wasn't until yesterday when a caught the Planet Money podcast #386, that I found out a whole generation of people have a resentment for the Red Cross.
Funny, to think something as silly as having to pay 5 cents for a doughnut and a cup of coffee could have such long lasting consequences.
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