Fires in West keep Army busy

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SALVATION ARMY staff and volunteers provided meals, snacks, and hydration service to evacuees and firefighters in Colorado.


BY JEN POKORSKI – 

As the worst wildfire in Arizona history burns out of control, destroying more than 351,000 acres, the Southwest Division is on the scene providing food and shelter for firefighters, volunteers and evacuees. With the help of donations from the people of Arizona, the Army is operating shelters for evacuees in Wins-low, Mesa and Glendale and feeding stations in Holbrook, Show Low and Eagar, Ariz.

The Army is also housing and feeding 250 firefighters at Camp Ponderosa in Heber, Ariz. The camp, which usually hosts over 200 disadvantaged children each week during the summer, was evacuated before the first group of campers could arrive.

Dedicated Army officers stayed at the camp to care for the emergency responders.

In addition to hands-on relief efforts, the State of Arizona asked The Salvation Army to staff a volunteer and donation information line. The Army operates the phone line under the auspices of Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), a coalition of non-profit agencies that coordinate and provide disaster services.

“We have received a tremendous amount of calls from the public asking how they can help,” said Lt. Colonel Don Mowery, Southwest divisional commander. “We’ve already received thousands of donated goods, dollars and volunteer offers. We hope that the community can continue to give their time and donations throughout the fire containment and recovery efforts.”

People interested in volunteering or donating goods are encouraged to call the volunteer and donation information line at 602-267-4100.

Army on the scene in Colorado

Salvation Army relief workers have been providing meals, snacks, and hydration service to evacuees and displaced residents, and hundreds of firefighters, National Guard personnel, and emergency management officials in Colorado since wildfires broke out June 9.

Since then, the Army has served more than 44,325 meals, 221,625 snacks and 131,621 beverages.

Called the most devastating fire in Colorado’s history, more than 333 families lost their homes to the flames.

At the request of numerous Colorado fire departments, the Army responded to fires near Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, and southwest of the Denver area. Salvation Army emergency canteens and volunteers responded from Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, Denver, Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Aspen, Conifer and Fairplay in Colorado and from Cheyenne, Wyoming.

“I am grateful to staff and volunteers who have been serving on the front lines,” said Intermountain Divisional Commander Lt. Colonel Harold Brodin. “In this time of devastating tragedy for so many, there has been a tremendous outpouring of support from Denver, the state, and from the territory. The resources of prayer, money, and people are overwhelmingly provided, enabling The Salvation Army to extend a cup of cold water, and more, in the Spirit of Christ.”

Salvation Army canteens, staff and volunteers will soon begin making the transition from serving firefighters and other disaster response personnel to helping people who are beginning the process of rebuilding their lives across the state of Colorado. Recovery plans are underway now to begin the daunting process of helping people start over. Such recovery efforts have already begun in the communities of Canon City and Glenwood Springs.

With the transition comes a critical shift in the needs of The Salvation Army. “The individuals and families who lost their homes and possessions in recent days are counting on The Salvation Army to help them meet their most urgent needs. The public can help us most right now by making a financial gift that enables us to have the purchasing power we need to care for these people, ” said Brodin.

To make a financial contribution by credit card, please call (800) SAL ARMY or visit The Salvation Army on the web at www.imsalvationarmy.org. Contribution checks can be mailed to: The Salvation Army, 2002 Wildfire Emergency Fund, PO Box 2369, Denver, CO, 80201.

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