Clackamas foundation supports victims of Riverside Fire
While delivering checks from the Clackamas Emergency Services Foundation to people impacted by the Riverside Fire, Jerry Kearney was struck by the generosity of some recipients.
Kearney, president of the foundation and a volunteer with Clackamas Fire, noted that one person who applied for funds had purchased food for the family that housed her when she had to evacuate.
"It's heartwarming to help someone that generous," he said.
After receiving more than $180,000 in community donations in the aftermath of the Riverside Fire, Clackamas's Emergency Services Foundation is distributing up to $1,500 to families affected by the incident — whether they had to pay for a hotel during evacuations or lost their home to the flames.
The 138,000-acre fire that began in the Mt. Hood National Forest in September didn't reach 100% containment until early December. The Estacada city limits and surrounding areas were placed under evacuation.
Because of the Riverside Fire and nearby Dowty Road Fire, 150 structures in the Estacada area were lost — 50 of which were homes. No lives were lost.
So far, the foundation has distributed checks to 70 families, the majority of them from the Estacada area. A total of $105,112 has been distributed to recipients.
"The need is absolutely there," Kearney said. "Most people have been extremely grateful."
He noted that collaboration was a key element in fighting the Riverside Fire.
"This was not a fireman's fire. It was a community event," he said. "The firefighters put out the fire, law enforcement helped with evacuations, there was (American Medical Response) for injuries and there was a tremendous outpouring of community support both during and after the fire."
Kearney is thankful to be able to support people in the aftermath of the wildfires.
"We're not healing the total wound, but at least we're helping to heal it," he said.
The Clackamas Emergency Service Foundation was formed in 1998 and helps coordinate Operation Santa Claus and the Art Johnson Memorial Scholarship, among other projects.
Applications for wildfire relief funds are available at the Estacada Fire Station, 261 S.E. Jeremy Loveless Ave.
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