Danny Ventress’s hometown of Cobb in Lake County was under evacuation orders due to the Valley Fire, and he was packing up things at his 86-year-old mother’s home in Valley Springs in the area of the Butte Fire.
He was busy examining a cache of coins she saved over the years, glancing at television news reports about the two disasters that rank among the state’s most devastating wildfires ever. Just as a scene with the Red Cross flashed across the TV screen, Ventress says, his eyes were caught by what he thought was a special coin. Looking more closely, Ventress says, he say the coin was a Red Cross pin given to blood donors, probably decades ago.
Although his mother doesn’t recall the details of how she acquired the pin, finding the piece struck an emotional cord for Ventress.
“I’ve seen Red Cross people out in huge numbers, ready to assist. It’s been great,” he says of the emergency and recovery efforts of the Red Cross in the Sierra foothills where his mother lives, as well as in Lake County region where his family vacationed regularly when he was a kid and where he moved permanently 15 years ago.
As he was helping out at the Mountain Lion’s Club in Cobb, Ventressa shared with visitors story of the pin, that didn’t match his original expectations, but exceeded them.