Western Wildfires – Couple Get Engaged at Red Cross Shelter
Steven Williams and Brittney Brewer announced their engagement at a Red Cross shelter in Fort Garland, Colorado. Red Cross Photo by Roger Enix
Numerous wildfires are burning across the west, scorching hundreds of thousands of acres, destroying structures and forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. The American Red Cross is on the ground and urges residents who may be impacted by these fires to be prepared to evacuate if needed.
The Red Cross is responding in California, Colorado and Utah, providing food, shelter, relief supplies and comfort for those affected. Red Cross disaster workers are working with local, state and federal fire officials to ensure both people forced out of their homes and first responders are getting the help they need. The Red Cross has provided almost 950 shelter stays, served more than 36,000 meals and snacks and distributed more than 1,000 personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies.
CAMPERS BECOME ENGAGED AT RED CROSS SHELTER The Red Cross shelter in Blanca-Fort Garland, Colorado, hosted a couple with a true love story whose plans were interrupted by the Spring Fire. Steven Williams, his family, and his girlfriend – Brittney Brewer – were visiting Colorado from Tennessee when bad luck interrupted Steven’s careful planning.
While camping on family property in Forbes Park, the Spring Fire began burning through the area, causing the group to quickly evacuate. They left their tents (which survived somehow) and grabbed some critical items, but left without many of their belongings, including all of their hiking gear. Stored in a nearby structure, their items were lost in the fire.
Fortunately, they all made it out safely. And fortunately for Williams, he made sure to grab the engagement ring he was planning to give Brewer during a planned hike up nearby Blanca Peak (the 4th highest summit of the Rocky Mountains). With their hiking gear lost, so was the opportunity to propose on the Blanca Peak summit. The Tennessee resident proposed during their Spring Fire evacuation anyway – an announcement that was cheered by fellow evacuees at the Red Cross shelter.
The couple is planning to be married this fall after returning to Tennessee. The Spring Fire has changed plans for many families but failed to stop this story of true love.
People in the path of these fires should get their emergency kit ready now in case they have to evacuate. Pack the following in an easy-to-carry container:
If you are coming to a shelter, bring your emergency kit, bedding, clothing, medications and your child’s stuffed animal or blanket.
IF A FIRE OCCURS Listen to your local media for updates on the fire and be ready to leave quickly. Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing your direction of escape. You should also:
AFTER THE FIRE Don’t go home until fire officials say it is safe. Be cautious entering a burned area – hazards could still exist. Avoid damaged or downed power lines, poles and wires. Other things to do include:
DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS The Red Cross app “Emergency” can help keep you and your loved ones safe by putting vital information in your hand for more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts. The Red Cross First Aid App puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies at your fingertips. Download these apps by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.