Thursday, November 8: Camp Fire destroys Paradise: Heavy winds caused the inferno to spread rapidly and within hours it engulfed Paradise. Many of the town’s 27,000 residents, including members of Knights of Columbus St. Thomas More Council 7773, barely escaped, leaving their possessions behind.


This was supposed to be just an ordinary day. Barbara planned to attend a funeral planning session helping Lois, the funeral planner for St. Thomas More. They were preparing for Noni deBettencourt's funeral and others. I was planning to send out the minutes and an agenda for an upcoming Knights of Columbus meeting. We were also planning more neighbor meetings for your parish renewal program, ARISE. At 5:30 that evening we would attend a Care Net banquet, a Respect Life fundraiser.


Our plans were forever changed when downed power lines near Pulga sparked a fire around 6:15 a.m. Winds (over 50 miles per hour) blowing up the Feather River Canyon's Jarbo Gap blew the fire towards Paradise. The fire became real for us when we received a reverse 911 phone call around 8:30. Later on I discovered the following e-mail message: <>

Nov 8, 2018 at 7:58 AM

Due to a fire in the area, an evacuation order has been issued

for all of Pentz road in Paradise East to Highway 70.

If assistance is needed in evacuating, please call 9 1 1.


Barbara and I had just taken showers when I answered the phone. The recorded message recommended evacuating because of a fire. When we looked outside, we could see an eerie glow, not a sunrise but a strange light in the sky. When we opened the front door, we could hear explosions (maybe transformers or propane tanks) and saw thick black smoke billowing from an area west of us near our friends' (Financial Secretary Tom and Peggy Schaub) home. We decided to pack suitcases for a few nights, grabbed our fire safe, packed both cars, and prepared to head south on Pentz Road. Just before we backed down the driveway, I thought I should alert our elderly next door neighbor, Evie (Evelyn). She answered the doorbell quickly but wasn't too alarmed. She assured me that she would be okay and that her son or daughter would help her if needed.


Soon we were on Pentz Road towards Highway 70. The black smoke was creating a massive cloud behind us and we could still hear explosions. We were lucky to be among the first to leave Paradise and were never surrounded by the fire. Only a few cars were going down the hill with us. As we neared Highway 70, emergency vehicles were speeding up Pentz Road. There were no road blocks. Traffic increased as we turned towards Chico. The hills glowed with fire and smoke. Once we turned onto Highway 99, we passed though a river of thick, dark, black smoke near the Chico Chamber of Commerce signs. All the cars had their lights on. We could only see a few car lengths ahead of us as the smoke got thicker. We turned off towards our son Jeff's home in northeast Chico. I think Barbara had called him on the way, so his home was ready for us. We unloaded the cars, turned on the television to watch the news, and looked out the front window to see the hills of Paradise. I decided to go outside to take a picture. The picture below was taken looking directly east from Jeff's home at 9:58 am. Paradise is southeast of Jeff's home, so the sky was clear to the north. A black pall of smoke was billowing towards us. A thick layer of black smoke was topped by grey, brown, orange and white layers with some blue sky showing.



A few moments later I clicked a second picture towards the southeast. The morning sun was caught in the clouds creating a weird sunset-like image with a rainbow of colors above a dark mass of smoke. Beneath the clouds to the north sunlight peaked through the base of the smoke.



As we looked towards Paradise we had no idea if our home would survive the flames and had no contact with our friends and neighbors who were being forced to evacuate. We watched television news reports throughout the day. The news was as bleak as the sky -- a gigantic cloud of smoke enveloping everything and everyone in the Paradise that we had known for only a few years. While we instinctively evacuated immediately, long-time residents took evacuation orders with a grain of salt having been evacuated many times and returning to little damage resenting the inconvenience of an apparent overreaction. In the beginning few realized how serious this fire was going to be. Now the news presented terrifying reports of the worse fire in California history.


The sky became darker with smoke creating a thick fog reminding me of nuclear winter conditions predicted in some disaster movies. The news was grimmer by the minute. Jeff's dog, Charlie, lightened up the somber news simply keeping us company.



Some of Jeff's friends were advised to evacuate an area in Chico a few miles northeast of us. By the time they joined us, it was late in the evening and the news advised us that even Jeff's neighborhood could be evacuated. A wide street separated Jeff's home from upper Bidwell Park's playgrounds and fields. Jeff, his friends, and Barbara and I took a calculated risk ignoring the possible evacuation and trying to get some sleep that night. One bit of good news was that our friends, Lou and Lois, had escaped to their son's home after an eight hour journey to Tracy.


A few days later we found out what some of the Knights did on that tragic day: from Heroism in Paradise article.


Brother Knight, David Lemire, was dropping off his 10- year-old daughter at school last November when he noticed smoke moving over the steeple of St. Thomas More Catholic Church. Minutes later, the smoke became darker. Then dense ash the size of potato chips starting falling from the sky.


Lemire became worried and informed fellow Knight, Greg Kidder, the facility manager at St. Thomas More, that he was leaving with his daughter and son to pack supplies.


When Lemire returned home with his children, he told his daughter to start filling the truck with clothes and other provisions while he checked on their elderly neighbor, Peggy, whom he had been helping for the past year.


“I told her, ‘Look, we got to get out of here, I think there’s a serious fire coming up the ridge,’” Lemire recalled.


Peggy refused to leave. But over the next half-hour, the situation became critical. Lemire heard the sound of exploding propane tanks and people screaming in the distance. The sky became pitch black.


“I ended up having to pull her from her bathroom to the front door, and she started crying,” he said. “I kept saying, ‘I love you. I can’t leave you here!’”


Lemire helped Peggy to her car, raced back to collect her medicine and then evacuated the premises.


By now, the raging fire had reached his own doorstep, and there was no time left for Lemire to hook up his trailer. As he drove through the inferno, he told his children to keep their heads down and away from the windows.


“Fire was on both sides of the street,” Lemire said. “I could hear the whistling of the propane tanks, the relief valves going off. I could hear explosions. It sounded like a war zone.”

He and his children prayed during the 20-mile drive to Chico, a trip that usually took 40 minutes but lasted more than five hours.


Kidder, meanwhile, was busy coordinating the evacuation plan back at the church and school, together with St. Thomas More’s pastor, Father Godwin Xavier. When he had first seen the smoke a few miles away, Kidder was unconcerned, since previous fires had always been contained. Before long, however, an emergency order to evacuate was issued.


“It was a matter of hours,” recalled Kidder, whose priority was the safety of the more than 220 students. A steady flow of parents soon began picking up their children.


“When we got most everyone off the property, we were down to 23 students, and we had to load them into cars,” Kidder said.


The cars, driven by staff, headed to an assembly point in Chico. Kidder stayed behind to check every room in the church and school and to shut off the gas and electricity.

“It was one of those things where you just act,” he said. “For me, it was executing the plan — processing what needs to be done and crossing things off my list.”


Friday, November 9: We woke up to news that the fire was out of control, that over 20,000 acres had burned, and that the primary effort was to evacuate all residents of Paradise. Putting out the fire was secondary to saving lives. Some good news: our future Knights of Columbus State Deputy offered his home in Chico to fellow Knights while he and his wife were out of town.


The smoke was even thicker than the first day. Barbara's sister, Colette, had won a trip to wine country for the weekend in some contest. She offered to share a luxurious condo with the "Old Folks" (Barbara's brother and his wife, her sisters and their husbands, and us). We figured this would be a great way to escape the smoke from Saturday through Monday.


We continued to watch the news and to prepare for the trip to wine country. Chico was being overrun with Camp Fire survivors. A terrible black smoke blanketed the town which was in total turmoil with an invasion of refugees. Meanwhile the Camp Fire had grown like a fire storm to about 100,000 acres (about 20 percent contained). We still didn't know if our home had survived the flames.


We were flooded with emails and phone calls from family, friends, and Knights of Columbus (since I held the local leader's position as Grand Knight). I made an effort to contact all of the Knights in the council. In the next few weeks I discovered that 69 had lost their homes. I maintained a list of Knights’ names, their current location, the status of their homes, any special needs, and important notes.


In a few days we discovered in our own neighborhood, six homes out of about 60 were left, In other areas, where you had 100 homes, it was zero. Roughly 90 percent of Paradise homes were destroyed.


Greg Kidder also made phone calls to confirm the welfare of parishioners.


“The day after the fire, I just focused on our people. We made a gallant effort to gather them and keep them together,” Kidder said. “What they had was gone.”


Dave Lemire went from shelter to shelter offering his services, volunteering up to 20 hours a day. He became a hub of information and helped place about a dozen families in homes.


Saturday, November 10: Before driving to wine country we checked the latest news: The fire had continued to grow even bigger having consumed about 110,000 acres. Fourteen bodies had been discovered, bringing casualties to 23. We decided that we would help with relief efforts on Monday after the smoke settled. We welcomed a break from the daily bombardment of tragic stories and images. I had another message from the Knights of Columbus Columbian Charities. They would provide special support to all those who lost their homes.





Being away from the Chico pandemonium was a relief. The smash burgers were great. But even here, the smoke from the Camp Fire had followed us though it wasn't as bad as Chico's. When we passed through nearby Santa Rosa, we were reminded of the grim reality of fire as we drove by burned portions of neighborhoods there and saw the wooden frames of new homes being built on burnt lots.


Thanks to our son Jeff who had connections with PG & E, we found out that our home and Evie's home next door had survived the fire. We still wondered about our friends' and neighbors' homes, if their homes had survived the fire, or if they had lost everything and  would need to rebuild from the ashes. It helped our spirits when we arrived at the condo away from most of the reminders about the tragedies of the Camp Fire. Watching Colette and Craig making preparations for dinner was a good escape. Obsessing about our home wouldn't fix fire damage, so we focused on dinner and having a good time with the Old Folks.



Sunday , November 11: More grim news. The fire had continued to grow to about 115,000 acres, roughly 25 percent contained. Another six bodies had been found: 29 casualties. Our parish hall and two rectories were destroyed. The church and Achieve Charter School survived. Smoke still hovered over Healdsburg.


Today's first escape from reality would be a Veteran's Day breakfast:



Our final escape for the day was a short ride to Geyserville followed by a tour and dinner at Francis Ford Coppola Winery:



Monday, November 12: Veterans Day: The pre-fire plan was to join fellow Knights of Columbus in putting up flags up and down The Skyway in Paradise. The fire had consumed the flags, and no one except fire crews and emergency personnel were allowed on what was left of the streets of Paradise. Latest statistics on the fire: increased in size to 120,000 acres, about 30 percent contained with more than 40 casualties.


When we returned to Chico, the recovery effort began with an invitation to a parish rebuilding committee meeting at St. John the Baptist Church on Thursday. When we seemed all alone at the Newman Center, Brother Knights from our Council dropped by to help. Then St. John the Baptist Knights from Council 1137 under the leadership of Grand Knight Jim Wayne (who lost his home to the Camp Fire) provided meals for our Knights and parishioners.


We were back in the thick smoke of Chico trying to find our way to clearer days. Jeff and I caught up on work and phone messages while Charlie checked out my computer.



Tuesday, November 13: The news from Paradise remained bleak. 48 had died in the fire, now the single-deadliest wildfire in California history surpassing the 1933 Griffith Park Fire. It had now covered 125,000 acres (30 percent contained).


Wednesday, November 14: Latest news: casualties increased from from 48 to 56. Rebuild Committee for St. Thomas More Parish formed including Pastor, Parish Council, GK, Greg Kidder, Pastor from St. John the Baptist, Chico. Donation links were set up on the Parish and K of C website by DD, former GK. Temporary office for Rebuild volunteers was set up at the Newman Center in Chico.


Thursday, November 15: By now the fire had consumed 140,000 acres and was 40 percent contained; 63 casualties. In an effort to gather our parish community together, we held the first meeting of the Rebuild Committee at St. John's with Fr. Mike, some fellow Knights, and about a dozen St. Thomas More parishioners. Everyone had their own fire stories and friends' and neighbors' stories to  share. Most had lost their homes. All parishioners had been evacuated and were scattered, some with relatives in the Chico area, some in motels, others in tents, trailers or in cars. Those who couldn't find a place to stay in Chico found places to stay within 100 mile radius or traveled to the nearest relative in California or other states. We brainstormed our recovery efforts and set up a temporary office at St. John's.  


Friday, November 16: 146,000 acres had burned, with 50 percent containment. Casualties increased from 63 to 71. We held our first town hall style meeting and dinner for all St. Thomas More parishioners at St. John's parish hall. Fr. Godwin started the meeting with a prayer followed by a welcome by Fr. Mike Ritter, pastor of St. John's, and Jim Wayne (lost his home to the fire), Grand Knight at St. John's. Fr. Mike announced his plan to have his parishioners help the Vincent de Paul Society register those visiting the Disaster Recovery Center. We asked all attending the dinner to fill out information sheets to help communicate with parishioners in the Chico area. A temporary STM business office was to be set up in the St. John's office. A STM ministries center (recovery center) was set up at the nearby Newman Center. The priority was to get our parishioners off the street and to provide recovery resources and contacts.


After the dinner meeting, I attended the St. John's Knights of Columbus business meeting to explain our council's needs: notify Columbian Charities about those Knights whose homes were lost in the fire, contact all council members still in Chico and surrounding areas, inform all members of Red Cross, FEMA, and Disaster Recovery resources. I sent out the first list of Knights who lost their homes to Scott Peterson of Columbian Charities.


Saturday, November 17: 149,000 acres burned; 55 percent contained; casualties increased to 76. We heard from our neighbors, George and Margaret, that their home and all those who lived on their street (a few blocks from our home) were destroyed completely in the fire.


Sunday, November 18: Bishop Soto celebrated Mass especially for all those evacuated by the fire. I asked him about setting up a 501c3 foundation to raise funds for the fire victims. He referred me to a diocesan official who approved the idea. Harold, a Knight from Our Divine Savior Church volunteered to set up a place of parish grounds for RVs. Casualties from the fire have risen to 77. St. John's Knights of Columbus offered to host a dinner on Thanksgiving Day. Our Divine Savior Knights offered to host a Thanksgiving Dinner on Sunday following Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 19: Camp Fire casualties increased to 79. St. Thomas More opened a relief center at the Chico Newman Center. Barbara and I begin working there daily with Greg and his wife, Ivonne, from 9:00 until the afternoon. They had escaped with only the clothes on their backs and looked almost daily for some place to stay in Chico. Everyday for months Greg and I were constantly on the phone or dealing with email messages. Barbara and Stacey tried to keep up with phone calls from parishioners in need of help or from people all over the country offering assistance. Trucks full of full of donated items arrived. We set up a distribution area. Overwhelmed with donated items and short-staffed we decided to encourage gift cards and cash donations. We set up a special fund in the Knights bank account. We maintained lists of donors and sent out handwritten thank you notes until we set up computers and printers to print thank you letters written in Microsoft Word keepimg records on the hard drive.


Monday, November 19 Journal: from Day in Inferno article

Another challenging day in the Arise and Rebuild program for St. Thomas More Church and Knights of Columbus Council 7773, Paradise, CA. The plan was to start the day with daily mass at St. John’s in Chico. On the way, a text caught my attention. Kitty needed a place to stay because she will lose her hotel loggings in a few days. Our Brother Knights had helped her pick olives in their small family olive grove a week before the fire. Her husband, Larry, was losing his battle with cancer and could only watch. A few days after the harvest, Larry and Kitty fled the Camp Fire as their home was reduced to ashes. Then, safe in nearby Chico, Larry suffered a major stroke. When I visited Kitty in Larry’s ICU room, she explained her plight with the hotel and that she hadn’t heard if the olive grove was burned (it wasn’t insured). I promised to find her a place, squeezed Larry’s ankle and said a Hail Mary before heading to our temporary parish center in CSU Chico’s Newman Center.

By 9:00, a Brother Knight from Council 13765, a parishioner, and a bi-lingual volunteer from Oakland had arrived to help return hundreds of calls from evacuees and possible donors. A while later our council’s Advocate, Greg Kidder, who had escaped the fire with only the clothes on his back conferred with me about the day’s agenda and helped configure replacement laptops and cell phones. Our District Deputy, Lou Gervais, who lost his home and vintage car in the fire, called to update the parish website to list ways to donate to the parish and council. Then our Lecturer, Ron Martin, and his wife joined us to sort donations for distribution. Our Brother Knight and Pastor, Fr. Godwin (he lost everything in the ashes of the rectory), dropped by to check on our progress and to minister to a drop in parishioner.

In the afternoon Brother Dave Lemire, joined the laptop and cell phone efforts. He lost his only truck and trailer (home to himself and his two children) in the fire because he waited too long helping other evacuate. He asked about using the Newman Center’s kitchen to prepare meals for his family and others who he had bonded with in an evacuation shelter. His eyes brightened when I told him a Brother Knight from Council 1137 was setting up RV spaces on a vacant lot owned by St. John’s Parish. My thoughts returned to Kitty. If I could only find an RV for her to stay on the vacant lot. I called the Knight setting up the lot and he volunteered his fifth wheel for Kitty. This was an answer to a prayer, so I called Kitty. She thanked me then told me that her family was gathering by Larry’s bedside because his breathing apparatus had been removed.

Back at my son’s home around 5:00, my wife, Barbara, had prepared a fabulous meal for my son, Jeff, and me. He joined us after a rough day supervising volunteers for Red Cross. Jeff gave me an update on local resources for our parishioners. I updated my list of Brothers who lost homes in the fire and prepared to send the latest version to Columbian Charities. We had just opened the overnight mail:  22 checks for $3,000 each for those whose homes were burned. I prepared to send nine more Brothers’ names for checks. Our council has 107 members on the books. If we can contact all of them, we expect that 80 percent will lose their homes. We also need to raise funds for those who lived in trailers and rentals who will not qualify for the $3,000 checks (Later on, Columbian Charities covered those who lost trailers in the fire). I am also raising money for the 80 percent of our 800 parishioners who are projected to join the list of destroyed homes victims.

Paradise has been compared to Hiroshima after the Bomb. It’s not much of an exaggeration. My home still stands, so I can help with the Arise and Rebuild program. We haven’t been allowed to pick up anything from our home yet. We hope to be allowed a short visit by the end of November. Then it will be a month or so before electricity, gas, and water will be restored, and we can adjust to life in a very toxic zone. We hope that many will visit our parish website, and click on the donation button or mail a donation to our parish or our council. We appreciate whatever help we can get. Thanks for helping us in our time of need, Jim Collins GK


Tuesday, November 20: I met with Bill Hubbard of North Valley Community Foundation to set up an umbrella foundation under the North Valley Community Foundation. Rita, Stacey and Lauryn joined us at the Newman Center. They focused on putting together an updated database of parishioners.



Wednesday, November 21: The fire was 85 percent contained and rain was falling; casualties rose to 83.


Thursday, November 22: Thanksgiving: The fire was 90 percent contained thanks to the rain. Most of our family gathered at Jeff's for Thanksgiving:





Friday, November 23: Newman Center: The Christmas spirit kicked in. We received offers of RVs, cars, housing, clothes, money, and everything imaginable. We couldn't accept some offers for lack of space to store items and personnel to manage logistics.


Saturday, November 24: Knights of Columbus throughout the United States sent money and gift cards to help fire victims. California State Knights sent boxes of masks and rubber gloves for clean-up efforts.


Sunday, November 25: Great News: The Camp Fire is 100 percent contained. More than 13,000 homes were destroyed along with 5,000 other structures. 84 deaths were confirmed. Deceased Camp Fire Victim list (click) St. John's Knights of Columbus offered to hosted Thanksgiving Dinner. Our Divine Savior Knights offered to host a Thanksgiving Dinner on Sunday following Thanksgiving.


Monday, November 26: Lou Gervais fixes the parish and Knights of Columbus websites to accept donations by cash, check, paypal, or credit card.


Tuesday, November 27: ODS Hall meeting; Fire recovery efforts move to  Our Divine Savior Church (ODS).


Wednesday, November 28: I met with Jonah on a webcast to spread the word about our community's needs since the Camp Fire.


Thursday, November 29: Newman Center Distribution: Staff from the Newman Center help with the distribution of donated items.



Friday, November 30: Relief Team meeting at ODS. We would celebrate my birthday a few days later.


Sunday, December 2:  A special 1:00 Mass is scheduled every Sunday for St. Thomas More parishioners at Our Divine Savior Church. Gift cards and other donations were distributed after Mass.


Monday, December 3: The parish relief center moved from the Newman Center to Our Divine Savior office across town in Chico. Our office is a converted pre-school classroom. I began to distribute a $3,000 check from Columbian Charities to each Knight who lost his home (69 of 105) in the fire. I accompanied each Knight to the bank since my name was also on each check.


Wednesday, December 5: First Look at Devastation. This was the first time since the Camp Fire that we were allowed to see our home and the surrounding devastation. We picked up "clean suits" and masks as we passed through a security gate. Most of Paradise had gone up in flames. The devastation was overwhelming. Ninety percent of the homes had been destroyed. All that remained were chimneys, burned out cars, and a pile of ashes. The two story hulk (below) of the remains of a mansion on the edge of the Feather River Canyon is only a few blocks from our home. We had admired it on daily neighborhood walks.



Viewing the remains of strangers' homes was depressing. Seeing the remains of homes of people we knew was much more emotional. We had recently been meeting in neighbors' homes for the ARISE program, a parish renewal effort. All members of our group except us lost their homes.



As we approached our driveway, we saw the destruction of the front flowerbed with the remains of an Italian cypress, shrubs, and a blue spruce. Further up the driveway we looked at another burned-out flower bed. Embers had blown up our driveway from the west burning everything flammable.



It was a miracle that a cord of almond wood on the opposite side of the driveway didn't burn. It had been protected by the wind direction and the underlying rocks and cement.



The backyard patio was a mess where the wind had blown over a table with a glass top. All the cushions were pitted with burns from flying embers.



A wood shed and wind decorations remained protected by a walkway that I had installed a few months before the fire.



There was no doubt of the fire's intensity by the looks of the trash disposal unit next to the fence. Most of the plants in the flower bed were burned.



Our neighbor's wooden retaining wall and fences had burned.

Most of the pine trees had been torched by the fire:


The tarp on the boat was damaged by embers. The Italian cypress was only a burned skeleton:


Our losses seemed insignificant when we looked south towards our neighbors' homes that were completely destroyed. In the picture (lower right) below you can see the melted remains of a fiberglass trailer. The remains of a vintage Porsche are nearby in what remains of the garage.




Across the street are the ashes of one home and another home untouched by the fire.



You can see the ruins of a home in the foreground looking toward our neighbor's home and our home.


From inside our home looking our the front window and a boil water notice found on the front door:


The remains of friends and neighbors' homes nearby:




Thursday, December 6: Meeting with Diocese.


Friday, December 7: Belated Birthday Celebration at Red Lobster. Even though our home sustained minor damage, we had to wait for clearance until we could return. So. we continued our stay with Jeff and celebrated my birthday in Chico.



Sunday, December 9: Charlie helping Jeff with his EMT studies:



Monday, December 10: K of C donation meeting. I met with Knights from the Bay Area to accept donations.


Tuesday December 11: One of our Knights, Tom Gaukel, passed away. One of his dying wishes was to be buried in a Knight's uniform. We provided a shirt and vest. Paradise and ODS Council (13765) host dinner for STM Knights and parishioners.


Thursday, December 13: We held our first STM Knights of Columbus meeting at the Our Divine Savior (ODS) parish hall. State Secretary, Dave Abbott, helped set up. I thanked Greg Kidder and his wife Ivonne, as well as all the Knights and their wives who had been helping at the Newman Center and ODS. I thanked Supreme for sending $10,000 in gift cards, Columbian Charities for sending a $3,000 check for each Knight who lost his home and Supreme for helping Columbian Charities with a $120,000 check. I also thanked Grand Knights Jim Wayne and Ed Grens for their support and Harold Frazier and Dave Lemire for setting up RVs on the ODS property. We made plans for Larry Campbell's and Michael Gaukel's funerals. We set up an Emergency Fund Committe to distribute donated funds to members in need. After the meeting, we gathered for pizza at a nearby restaurant. Even though our members were scattered, we had more than a quorum (12 members) to conduct business.




Friday December 14: We held a rosary for another Knight, Larry Campbell, who had died from cancer shortly after the fire.


Saturday December 15: A large group of parishioners and Knights attended Larry's funeral. At the reception, the Knights hired some Irish dancers to honor Larry's wishes. The music and dances was a welcome relief from so much doom and gloom. One of our Knights donated his $3,000 check to cover all related expenses. ODS and STM Knights set up spots for RV's with electricity, water, and dump facilities on the ODS property. An ODS Knight and his wife loaned Kitty Campbell their RV for her to live in for several months.


Sunday December 16: We distributed St. Thomas More fire recovery tee shirts and accepted donation from other Knights. STM parishioners gather each Sunday at 1:00 for Mass to keep the parish together.


Thursday December 20: Parishioners and Knights attended Mike Gaukel's funeral and reception.


Friday December 21: More donors brought donations to our Divine Savior's office.



Saturday December 22: We received 4,000 gift cards from Brother Knights:



Angels from Santa Barbara. I have included some of the text from my thank you to families from Santa Barbara who presented checks to cover one year's rent

 to needy Camp Fire survivors:

Please accept our thanks for the incredible generosity of all three families who provided funds for rental expenses for one year for families devastated by the Camp Fire. You came like angels arriving by plane with your very generous checks and a bag of presents for each of the families. After you presented the checks, we gathered all the families in a large room where the recipients shared the story of their experiences in the Camp Fire. Sad stories gave way to joy when your children presented bags of presents. The stories were very moving and your generosity was overwhelming. When I spoke with those whose rent will be covered for a year, they were incredibly happy after this visit from the angels who came on the airplane and were relieved that they could pay their rent thanks to your generosity.




Sunday, December 23: We gathered for Christmas dinner and Christmas cookies



Tuesday, December 25: Christmas Day




Our hearts were with Wyatt in Dallas and Mikayla in Chico

who celebrated the gift of a car for Christmas.



Friday, December 28: I sent a thank you to the Knights of Columbus Livermore council for being the first responders to bring a truck load of donations to the Newman Center to help our relief efforts.


Sunday, December 30: We celebrated Carson's Birthday with his friends:



Sunday, December 31: Thank you notes to many donors were handwritten by parish volunteers and Knights in the first few months. With new computers and printers we can now send out personal thank you letters composed on the computers. A special thanks to all those who donated immediately after the Camp Fire in our darkest hours.


Christmas cards from family brightened our holiday spirits:



NEXT: 2019



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