Redding hasn’t finished going through the most devastating and traumatic episode I’ve personally witnessed since my family moved here in 1990. Thousands were forced to evacuate their homes while the Carr fire raced through local communities, including French Gulch, Old Shasta, Keswick and then the west side of Redding. Despite losing over a thousand homes and at least six lives, the community has started picking up the pieces while we mourn.
The UpState Hearing office in downtown Redding has stood since 1996 and fortunately will continue to do so. Though some staff members were temporarily displaced by the fire, nobody on the UpState team has lost their home. Of course, it’s impossible to live in this community without knowing someone who wasn’t so fortunate. While we count our blessings, our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who are victims of the Carr fire. These words cannot express the sadness and empathy we feel while our loved ones start down the path to rebuilding.
Despite the damage done, it’s clear that Shasta and Trinity Counties would have suffered much worse without the selfless efforts of many agencies and thousands of individuals who helped fight the fire and keep people safe. As a voice for UpState Hearing, but mostly as a longtime Redding resident, I appreciate the heroic work done by the first responders and fellow citizens to keep the rest of us safe.
Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Jeremy Stoke and Don Ray Smith. The sacrifice these two men made will never be forgotten in this community. We also won’t forget those who were victims despite efforts of men like these and the hundreds of firefighters who put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of our citizens and their homes. Thank you.
As news of the Carr fire reached the nation, I began to receive countless messages of concern and offers for a safe place to stay. I know this applies to many other local residents. Thank you to everyone all over California and the country who have helped us. In all the destruction it’s impossible not to be aware and appreciative of the love and kindness that has blanketed our community.
If you’ve lost your hearing aids or accessories in the chaos of the Carr fire, please come see the UpState staff. Custom care packages are being assembled depending on what is needed. Oticon has already reached out and provided simple instructions on how to file a claim for lost or stolen hearing aids. The UpState family owes Oticon a big thank you, not only for helping with practical needs but also for their concern regarding the safety and well-being of our UpState family.
We will never forget the damage done by this event and the lives lost. We will however, emerge stronger than we were before. The people impacted by the Carr fire may not always agree on everything. We may have political squabbles, differences in religious or philosophical ideologies, and competing jobs. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together. We have proven that we can prevail and flourish. We will overcome adversity by being there for each other. If the last few days have shown me anything, it’s that love prevails. Thank you.