Chetco Strong — a statement and a source of pride for a community that was threatened by one of Oregon’s largest wildfires during the summer of 2017. At the height of the fire, which burned 190,000 acres, residents fled their homes with only moments to grab precious belongings and seek refuge for their loved ones, pets and livestock. In that time of need, support flooded in from local communities and from across the country as thousands of firefighters fought tirelessly to keep the community safe.
Wild Rivers Community Foundation (WRCF), which has a history of being a trusted neutral entity, was asked by community members and nonprofits to be the holder of donations to support organizations on the ground who working directly to provide relief to those affected by the fire. WRCF reached out to a diverse group of residents and community leaders of Curry County to form a committee to assist in granting out dollars rapidly. Each week, the Chetco Bar Fire Fund Committee connected with local nonprofits organizations and listened to the community at large for what the most urgent needs were. A total of $51,000 in donations poured in from donors, businesses and foundations in and outside of Curry County. The funds were held by WRCF and 100 percent of those funds were distributed back out into the community.
The donations provided much-needed funding to local food banks that were inundated by families in need. The donations also helped churches providing direct support and outreach, as well as soup kitchens, evacuation shelters, and volunteer fire departments and for supplies to reestablish water services to many homes.
While the flames and smoke of the Chetco Bar Fire will remain forever etched in the minds of residents, so should the outpouring of financial support and volunteer work offered by so many people near and far. Wild Rivers Community Foundation and the Chetco Bar Fire Fund Committee are proud to be a part of such a warm and caring community.
Thank you all.
Chetco Bar Fire Fund Committee:
Gerry Livingston, facilitator
Andre Bay, Curry community member
Pam Winebarger, Brookings Harbor Community Helpers Food Bank
Dale Thomas, WRCF Curry board member and resident of Curry
Harry Hoogesteger, WRCF Curry board member and resident of Curry
Jan Barbas, Curry community member
Gina Zottola, WRCF Director
Michelle Carrillo, Curry community member, WRCF staff
Christina Wilber, Brookings Harbor Nazarene Church
Roxanne Hayes, Del Norte Economic Development Corporation
Brandy Haselden, Umpqua Neighborhood Works
Dan Brattain, Cal-Ore Life Flight