Upper McKenzie Fire Protection District Christmas 2020
When we received our first glimpse of the devastation in the Upper McKenzie/Blue River area we were overwhelmed. So much loss... So much grief... When the COPSC was asked to offer support to the area, of course we said, “Yes”! At that time, we didn’t know what that support would be, but we trusted that God would lead us as we began caring and supporting Upper McKenzie firefighters. It is not a surprise that He has directed each of our steps along the way.
As the calendar crept closer to the holidays it was laid on the hearts of many to help make Christmas a special time for the Upper McKenzie Fire Protection District Fire Fighters. They not only valiantly fought the fire and saved lives and much more, but many of them lost their own possessions, vehicles, and homes in the battle as well. Many of them have spent the last 13 weeks living in a hotel room, travel trailer, or other temporary living accommodations as they wait to be able to rebuild. The journey has been very difficult and painful for many but as we wrapped our arms around them, we began to see tears flowing and many amazing stories of how they were protected and kept safe.
Thoughts and plans started coming together which culminated in Mikee Stutzman and Kristy Carey working with Fire Chief Rainbow Plews to gather information about each firefighter, board members and their families. Then the request for help went out to churches, agencies, organizations, fire departments, Facebook communities and more to adopt a family for Christmas. The response was almost instant and overwhelming! Every family was adopted within the first week of the request going out.The generosity of those who adopted families was incredible! We were overwhelmed as we started gathering the donations. People were so loving and kind! Not only did we receive gifts from those who adopted families, but the financial donations that came in from individuals, groups and churches made it possible for us to purchase a delicious catered dinner of Tri-Tip & Ham with all the delicious sides and desserts from Cody’s Country Catering and provide each of the 24 families with a $200 Visa gift card to purchase Christmas in the tradition of their family. Heart Warmers of Sisters donated cozy blankets for every person along with adorable handmade stuffed animals for each child.
Thursday, December 17th we delivered Christmas and dinner to the families. It took 3 pickup trucks and a car to deliver all the gifts donated! Santa Claus was able to join us and greeted each family as they arrived at the Fire Station to pick up their gifts and dinner. The families were truly overwhelmed by what they found waiting for them. It was such a joy to see them experience the love and generosity of so many. You could see by the expressions on their faces the relief that their plight had not been forgotten. It was one of the first times they saw each other since the fire.
COPSC is not done helping this community. They are still in great need and will be for many years as they begin the rebuilding process. We have committed to work with them in coordinating donations, work parties, etc. moving forward. Mikee Stutzman has made contact with Melanie Brite who is the communities liaison coordinating their needs with donors. This is an exciting connection that will give us the direction we need to provide help in a specific way within the right timing that is helpful and not a hinderance. Please be praying with us as we coordinate together. Our prayer is that they will see our efforts are because of our love for them through Christ. We are the hands and feet of Christ.
We want to especially thank everyone for donating gifts, money, time and energy to allow us to bring Christmas to Upper McKenzie Rural Fire Dept. The generosity of everyone was awesome!