Two Bend women provide resources for California evacuees
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- As wildfires burned across California in recent months, destroying homes and thousands of acres, American Red Cross volunteers from Bend joined the massive response efforts.
The Cascades Region of the Red Cross, which covers Oregon and southwest Washington, deployed nearly 25 volunteers to help residents in the hard-hit areas.
Two Red Cross volunteers from Bend helped in relief efforts as firefighters battled the Kincade fire in Northern California. They provided shelter, food and comfort for those who were forced to evacuate their homes.
On Wednesday, volunteers Ronda Coleman and Nadine McCrindle spoke of their experiences and deployment to support wildfire response efforts.
The Kincade fire that erupted in Sonoma County forced about 190,000 evacuations. The Red Cross Cascade Region supported 10 percent of the residents, helping them relocate to the 15 shelters that were set up.
Nadine McCrindle, executive director of the Red Cross region in Central and Eastern Oregon, was deployed to Sonoma County for 10 days. McCrindle served as a relief for the local Sonoma responders who needed rest, and gave them time to check on their own families and homes.
"I think one of the biggest things that really touched my heart that was there was the compassion and resiliency of the people who were affected by the fire," McCrindle said.
"I think even though they had gone through it recently, the compassion for each other and the donations that we received from people, just because they wanted to help and be part of it was really heartwarming, and a beautiful thing to see."
Rhonda Coleman, a service associate for sheltering wth the Red Cross, has assisted in relief efforts on many wildfires and hurricanes. She shared that even dealing with similar situations, responding to each natural disaster is always a different experience.
And being on the front line of such disasters drives home a familiar message to Central Oregonians: Be prepared for emergencies, especially wildfires.
"Those people who are ready to grab and go at a moment's notice fare better in a shelter," Coleman said. "That applies everywhere, and it especially applies here."
"It's so much easier on everyone if you have the stuff you need to call your life fulfilling, the things you need for comfort, the things you need for special needs -- let's say you have a special diet, let's say your children need a special thing. Get that ready and get that staged by the door," she said.