Our Alameda Wildfire Story: Gratitude for COMMUNITY
By Caryn Gehlmann
Our Alameda Wildfire Story began on Tuesday, September 8th, but the compassion from our e3 community keeps adding new chapters to it daily. The Alameda fire that swept through our area here in Phoenix, Oregon was devastating with over 2800 structures destroyed. Yet I feel so much gratitude for my community. My heart is so full that thinking of all of you immediately brings me to tears. I want to share some inspiring experiences with you and highlight this month’s e3 Community Partner, Officer Raúl Lopez.
We evacuated our e3 store on Tuesday, Four days later, I still didn’t know what had happened to our store. Was it still standing? Was there smoke damage? What about our neighbors? I couldn’t just drive by and see, I had to be escorted by the police and this meant waiting for three to four hours in a parking lot. I was joined by hundreds of fellow evacuees who didn’t know if their homes or businesses were still there.
This could have been a tense situation. Instead, there was an overwhelming calm presence. My mantra that day was “grace and ease” and I sat in my car and watched heroes showing up before my eyes. They were the church volunteers who helped organize the waiting line, the non-profit volunteers handing out gift cards for food, the woman who just showed up and handed out energy bars and water. She inspired me so much that I donated a box of e3 masks to her so that she could distribute them to those in need.
So many people stepped up the day of the fire, the week of the fire, and now two months later they’re still working to rebuild our community. These are the utility workers who worked 24 hours nonstop to get power back on, the truck drivers working overtime to get much-needed supplies to our community, the people doing the cleanup, the grocers working long lines… the list goes on and on. You know who you are — thank YOU!
Then, of course, were our first responders. They went above and beyond the call of duty. I was privileged to get to know one of the officers who escorted me to my building. (We were fortunate that our building miraculously was intact with no interior smoke damage.) Let me introduce you to Officer, Raúl Lopez. After spending some time with him, I could tell that supporting local businesses was important to him and his department. He graciously allowed me to interview him on his perspective on the fire and the impact on our community.
How did the community come together during and after the Alameda fire?
The teamwork really stands out. First responders, both the police and fire departments, were focused on safety and awareness. They used their day-to-day training and were able to quickly respond to what needed to be done. It was also good to see how the community came together to support each other. During the fire, neighbors were proactive about warning their neighbors to get to safety and after the fire, they kept an eye out for each other’s properties.
How can we support each other moving forward?
Regular, open communication is the key. It’s important to the police department for us to have a good relationship with local businesses, like essential 3. It’s a win-win when we work together to care for the needs of our community.
Any advice on being prepared for future fires in our area?
Be proactive about eliminating fire hazards. Property owners in particular should take a close look at their surroundings. Feel free to reach out to the fire or police department for specific suggestions.
Thank you Officer Lopez! We want to express our deepest Appreciation and Gratitude to all first responders: firefighters, police, local sheriffs, volunteers, and our community. It’s touched our hearts to see our community come together. Our love and prayers go to all who have experienced loss.
And finally, I want to give a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all of e3’s customers!
Without you, our Alameda Wildfire Story would be incomplete. Thank you for your patience as we were delayed filling your orders. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement over the past couple of months. We felt your support and it buoyed us up on days we felt overwhelmed.
I wanted to share my gratitude by offering you FREE standard shipping on ALL orders for the entire month of November 2020. I’ve never done something like this before but it felt like the right thing to do right now. (Use the coupon code FREETY in your cart to take advantage of this offer!)