We salute all the First Responders, organizations, businesses, governments and individuals that jumped in to help as our fellow Oregonians faced disaster with the wildfires afflicting many areas of western Oregon.
When disaster strikes, our community doesn’t ask—it acts.
While financial donations are key to any relief and recovery effort, Keizer donated time, food and needed items for daily living for hundreds of people, many who lost everything.
Residents of Keizer have been affected by the thick smoke that has blanketed the Willamette Valley since the fires in the Cascades began. Loss of property is shocking. Breathing hazardous air is harmful to the vulnerable among us. Dealing with bad air pales in comparison to those who lost property, which is shocking on its own. The loss of life of those in the path of the wildfires is tragic.
More than the community’s thoughts are with the victims of the fires. What is not with the victims is judgement. Volunteers in times of disaster don’t ask the political or religious views of those they are helping. It is almost a certainty, once the fires extinguish and the smoke blows away, that the blame game will begin. Debates will rage about forest management and adequate firefighting resources, but debates need to be put off for now. Rescue, recovery and relief are the watchwords of the day.
Disastrous events are always bookended with stories of loss and tragedy on one end and stories of heroism on the other end, such as a man driving his vehicle (reported by SalemReporter.com), packed with belongings, who rescued Bonnie Sullivan, who was alone. She rode in his trunk until safely taken to Mehama. More tales of heroism, no doubt, will begin to surface, as shock begins to fade.
Political and cultural disagreements do not exist when people are helping others in time of tragedy and disaster. There will be many stories to be told of the Great Oregon Wildfires of 2020. One chapter will how people forgot about themselves and jumped in to help. —LAZ