Saturday, July 28, 2012

True Appreciation: The Robbers Fire Experience

My commute to work is 45 miles each way.  It takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to get in and get out every day, and that's on a good day.  On any given Monday morning or Friday afternoon, it can take well over an hour and a half.  I am often asked WHY I do it.  Some days...I'm not so sure myself.  I work a lot of hours in a day so adding over 2 more hours just to be in the car can get tiring.

Working in a city, and having to travel to many other cities to get to work, does help me appreciate that drive home on Friday evenings, as I'm stuck on the windy road behind campers heading up for their weekend.  There are vehicles pulled off at the side of the road with their bike racks, while their owners are on the trails.  As I get even closer to home I see large vans parked, waiting for their passengers to get done water rafting the American River.  I am instantly reminded that I live where people travel to to "get away" from it all.

While I do live in a "destination" area, there is something many of these people that travel to or through our little town only get a glimmer of.  Our town is more than just a small town with a market, and a park, and a couple of gas stations.  We are a COMMUNITY.

It usually takes something major to appreciate what you have.  For us, it was the recent "Robbers Fire" that burned over 2600 acres and threatened 170 homes.  300 people were evacuated, and our community rallied together like we know how to do.

This was not a stranger helping stranger situation, but rather a friend helping a family.  It didn't matter whether anyone knew the other before this fire or not.  When it was all done, we were all a family.  There were constant updates, volunteer coordination efforts, and an outpouring of appreciation.  With everyone outside our community watching, our locals shined in their spirit. 

THIS is why I live where I do.  Cities have their big buildings and big events...but we have our FAMILY COMMUNITY.

With the over 2100 firefighters working hard to keep us safe, the Red Cross making themselves available, and the daily updates provided by CalFire, we were reminded how very precious our community is.  We all have new friends as a result of this fire.  Our appreciation for all the efforts made to keep us safe is evident by all the thank you signs everywhere, but is preciously summed up by this video.