I’ve directed countless relief operations around the country for the American Red Cross for many years. The Yarnell Hill Fire was different. It was where I live. You can’t help but take it personally. I’ve always been amazed at the generosity of the American public, but Prescott took it to a new level. So many offers of support were made that we couldn’t possibly utilize them all. It makes me proud to be a part of this community.
Visiting Red Cross disaster response workers are heading home and taking with them fond memories of the people they’ve met and worked with in Yavapai County. Many have asked me to share their feelings and thanks for the welcome and for the outpouring of generosity and support they’ve encountered in our area.
The Red Cross has assisted the clients affected by the Yarnell Hill Fire and helped meet their immediate needs by providing food, shelter and emotional support. We will still be available, as we always are, to assist anyone requiring additional help. We will continue with our mission to “alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”
While in Yarnell, Prescott and Wickenburg, the Red Cross served more than 60,000 meals and snacks and sheltered more than 330 people. We used our emergency response vehicles to assist in the feeding and hydration of Yarnell and Peeples Valley residents, first responders and workers from other agencies who were assisting clients. Bulk distribution of nearly 40,000 items, including cleaning supplies, masks and gloves, was completed from the parking lot of the Yarnell Community Presbyterian Church.
The Red Cross could not have done so much good without the generous support of the local community and local businesses. Numerous supplies – ice, water and ash sifters – were donated to our clients. Residents in the area said “thank you” to our volunteers daily and were incredibly generous with their support and financial contributions.
In addition to the volunteers from 39 states, including more than 200 from Arizona, 190-plus local spontaneous volunteers were involved with the operation. They were instrumental in the support provided during last week’s memorial service at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley. They spent their day in the hot sun handing out water and tissues to attendees.
For myself and on behalf of the entire Red Cross response team, a heartfelt thank you to all of you for helping us to do what you depend on us to do.
Arizona Wildfires Job Director
American Red Cross