Most will never experience the emotional trauma of witnessing your life literally “go up in smoke” from a devastating wildfire, or the debilitating feeling that comes when realizing treasured family mementos and photographs will never again be shared or viewed. We are thankful for being alive without a doubt, but what comes next? Where will we go? For some, it will involve living with extended family members. For others, it may be a revolving door of temporary hotels, motels and emergency shelters.
Those questions were floating through the mind of Woody Faircloth while watching news coverage of the devastating and deadly Camp Fire in California in 2018. The fire had consumed over 153,336 acres, along with destroying hundreds of homes during Thanksgiving week.
It was at that very moment Faircloth was suddenly struck with a brilliant, yet simple idea. He would help pair up wildfire victims with good Samaritans willing to donate their recreational vehicles to those in need thousands of miles away.
Before he moved forward with his idea, he asked his daughter Luna what she though about his idea of searching for other likeminded individuals who would like to donate RV’s in time for Christmas. “We were watching some of what’s going on out there and talking about what if that was us and what would we do,” Faircloth told Denver 7 at the time. “And I told (my daughter) what the idea was and she was 100 percent on board. She said, ‘God and Santa Claus would be really proud of us for this.’”
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The idea caught on like wildfire (excuse the pun). Within a matter of months, the nonprofit EmergencyRV.org was created, delivering donated RV’s to displaced wildfire victims. To date, Faircloth and his 9-year old daughter Luna have delivered 95 motor-homes to wildfire victims in California, some of who may have waited many months before emergency housing became available.
The father of four is planning to expand his nonprofit outreach to include additional fire and other natural disaster sites, along with improving the response time in getting RV’s into the hands of wildfire victims.
Over the last two months, the father and daughter duo have traveled from their home in Denver to California and back, a 40 hour total round-trip, on three separate weekends.
Ironically, a number of donated RV’s are going to firefighters and first responders who’ve also lost their homes while battling wildfires miles away. One of those selfless firefighters is George Wolley, who lost his own home to the Dixie Fire on August 4th.
“We fought the fire until we couldn’t fight it no more. We couldn’t stop it. We did our best,” Wolley told the Associated Press. “Before I got that RV, I felt like I was a burden on everybody that helped me… I slept a lot in tents and in my car. It gave me a place to go.”
When his daughter Luna was just 6-years old, Faircloth posted in 2018 before their amazing journey began, “Presently collapsed in the back of an old RV beside this little kid with no front teeth who gets me up and moving every day determined to do something better than yesterday.”
“We are so lucky to be exhausted. We are so lucky to be able to go home soon. There are so many thanks yous to say that have not yet been said so to all of you, thank you.”