The smell of burning timber woke Guy Fieri in his Santa Rosa, California home earlier this month. “The smoke was really bad,” the Food Network chef told local radio station KQED. “We had to evacuate at two in the morning, and we grabbed what we could, taking pictures off the wall as fast as we could. Jumped in the truck, loaded in the dogs, and away we went.”
While Fieri’s home escaped the wildfires unscathed, other Santa Rosa residents were less fortunate. So, Fieri decided to help them in the way he knew best: by preparing and serving delicious meals. The chef and his staff cooked barbecue chicken, coleslaw and bean salad in a mobile wood-fired oven and smoker, which they parked outside of town. Nearly 4,000 evacuees and volunteers lined up to sample Fieri’s cuisine on the first day.
Fieri plans to continue operating his mobile kitchen, so he can keep serving 5,000 meals daily to fellow victims and personnel. A fundraiser in partnership with the Salvation Army is financing his efforts. To donate, click here.
Veteran hiker Nathan Mitchell has walked trails in Peru, Panama, and all over the Pacific Northwest. So, when Mitchell ventured into the Mt. Hood wilderness for a solo hike, his family expected him to return safely. The weather, however, had other plans: wind and rain forced Mitchell to seek shelter and attempt a retreat to his car. Ultimately, he was forced to spend the night on a ridge above the Salmon River drainage.
When Mitchell woke, he couldn’t find the trail. “Mt Hood is a jungle,” the hiker’s father explained. “Once you get in there you can get disoriented because everything looks the same.” For the next five days, Mitchell battled trench foot and fatigue while he waited for help to arrive.
It did arrive, in a big way. Over 100 volunteers joined Mitchell’s friends and family to comb the area around his vehicle. Becky, Mitchell’s sister, described the moment when rescuers finally located her missing brother: “We just ran as fast as we could,” she said. “We slid down the ravine. It really was a beautiful moment.”
In the wake of his ordeal, Mitchell displayed the resilience which carried him through four long, cold nights. “He walked out himself,” Becky explained. “He didn’t want to be carried.” Mitchell’s parents, meanwhile, felt joy and gratitude for the support they received while waiting for news about their son. His mother, Gay, summed up the family’s feelings about the reunion with Mitchell: “It truly is an amazing miracle.”
On October 14th, Oregon City residents donated part of their weekend to help construct shelters for homeless veterans.
In Clackamas County, the city of Portland and Portland State University partnered to fund the effort–a transitional shelter pilot project on county land which will provide up to 30 homeless service members with a dry place to spend the night.
“I think people deserve shelter,” explained project construction manager Brendan Murphy. “If we’re a community we need to take care of people who don’t have shelter.”
The county, city, and university have taken care to reduce the environmental impact of the new dwellings: each shelter incorporates wood recycled from Oregon’s Pickathon Music Festival.
Ultimately, project leaders hope to provide homeless veterans with an entry point into more permanent, secure living situations. “The goal is people will live [in the shelters] in order to stabilize their lives and then move into transitional housing,” Murphy stated. Thanks to Oregon City’s generous residents, that goal is becoming a reality.
Bill Conway, Clackamas County Fire Department Chief of Emergency Medical Services, is always on the job.
This past Saturday, Conway went grocery shopping with his wife. As he strolled the aisles of Grocery Outlet, he heard another shopper collapse to the floor. The individual had lost consciousness and stopped breathing, according to a Clackamas Fire Department press release.
Conway didn’t wait for on-duty medical personnel to arrive. Rather, he immediately began chest compressions on the victim, and continued until paramedics could transport the person to a hospital. Conway’s instincts and job training likely saved the shopper’s life: paramedics restored the individual’s pulse after two defibrillation procedures.
Conway is passionate about equipping others with medical emergency response skills: he has taught CPR to over 40,000 people, and has funded purchases of defibrillators (AEDs) for law enforcement vehicles and businesses. In the process, he is helping to train the next generation of everyday heroes.
After three months in the hospital, Bobby Asa, a seventeen-year-old Sam Barlow High School student, finally returned home.
On June 27th, Bobby was driving home after visiting a friend, when another driver rear-ended his car. Bobby lost consciousness after the impact of the collision fractured his skull and damaged his spinal cord. He didn’t wake until six months later.
Doctors told Bobby’s family he would likely never walk again. But, after being released from Randall Children’s Hospital last Friday, he is already proving them wrong: “Walking is good. I’m getting to relearn it and learning how to be in a wheelchair, so relearning, kind of, life again,” Bobby told KOIN reporters.
Bobby hasn’t allowed his struggles to embitter him. In fact, his recovery has taught him important lessons: He values life more than ever before, because he now realizes “it can be taken away just like that. That’s what I think mostly, and not taking stuff for granted is what I want to do now.”
Last weekend, Bobby’s family celebrated his return home with an open house to thank friends and neighbors for their support. Nearly 200 people attended the event. “I just want to say, like, thank you to everyone who helped,” Bobby said.
Bobby explained that he looked to his family and community for encouragement during his long recovery. However, he ultimately credits his astounding progress to something else. “Well, I think it is a miracle because, like, right now, I shouldn’t even be doing what I’m doing,” he stated. “I should be in bed right now, but I’m not. So that’s great.”