My name is Amy, and I’m a mom, an entrepreneur and a life-long Scientologist. I just finished dropping everything to pitch in with a number of other volunteers from my church at the La Tuna Canyon wildfires, and wanted to share some of my experiences.
While storm systems in the east have brought the flooding and hurricanes that our Texas and Florida friends are now recovering from, unknown causes ended up precipitating for us here in Los Angeles the largest wildfire in the city in 50 years. As the fire has finally burnt out, the final toll was over 7000 acres burned, 300 homes evacuated, and 5 homes entirely destroyed by the fire.
Seeing the enormous plume of smoke and visible flame, and watching what the news had to say, obviously I was concerned for my family and friends in the area. But despite everything I had going on in my life as a mom and a business owner, I knew the way to not be worried about it was to do something about it. I asked myself, “What can I do to help?”
I knew that the fire fighters up there battling the blaze were going to need all the help they could get. So, I connected up to my church’s force of Volunteer Ministers to see what was needed to support the efforts to help those helping all of us (evacuations were already happening just a half mile from where I live).
I gathered up supplies from a friend who was nearby who wanted to help, grabbed some more cases of water and met others at the supply HQ for the firefighters. Meanwhile we were, as a force, scraping together donations for supplies non-stop so that the firefighters were stocked up.
Over the course of 3 days, I worked hand and hand with other locals and our Church to do whatever was needed to put love & sanity into what onlookers would call a “scary” scene. It was hot, dirty, rather un-glamorous work, but it was direly needed. And the aspect of this that helped me to personally overcome the “scariness” of the of it all, was that I was doing something effective to help, instead of just watching the destruction as a bystander.
As a combined force of volunteers, we set up our yellow tents with water, food, hygiene supplies galore so they could be picked up by or taken to the brave men and women on the front lines.
I felt the appreciation first hand from them to us. Heartfelt statements from emergency response police and firefighters – not said lightly or just in-passing, but with complete admiration.
“Thank you for being here”, was repeated hundreds of times. “We appreciate your help” and the occasional “Wait…how long have you guys been here?!” There is NO better payment than this.
Seeing first hand that the support & supplies that we organized for them, made THE difference when these guys were literally working around the clock… what more could I want?
And you know what, my mind set wasn’t that of fear but of pushing forward and helping those who saved thousands of homes and lives.
Added to that, as a parent, I got the opportunity to show my son that when there’s a problem in the community, the right thing to do is to pitch in and help. He was right there with me, helping as best he could – because if there’s anything I want him to know, it’s that his environment and his people are his responsibility too.
Now that the fire has been handled and we’re all returning to normal life, what sticks with me the most are those individuals I met who were out there alongside me, with no agenda but to help. It’s just beautiful how the community came together.
Thanks for letting me share my story.