2018 will go down in history as one of the worst years for wildfires in the United States. In California in particular, we saw homes, forests, and entire towns demolished by flame. Thousands of animal and human lives were lost. Even more families were displaced.
Woody Faircloth and his youngest daughter, at the time six-year-old Luna, were watching the horrific events unfold on the news. It was November, and first responders were in the process of fighting the notorious Campfire that destroyed the city of Paradise, California. One story in particular stood out to Faircloth: a man who lost everything, but felt blessed to just be alive during Thanksgiving week.
Inspired by his story, Faircloth turned to his daughter and asked what she thought about finding an RV to deliver it to the family so they would have a place stay for Christmas. To his surprise, his jumped on the opportunity.
Woody and Luna Faircloth on their path to deliver an RV. Credit: EmergencyRV.
“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 says. “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.’”
Woody Faircloth launched a GoFundMe campaign to finance the major purchase. Word spread more quickly than they ever imagined it would. Support poured out in the form of monetary funds, legal services, and even RV donations. He set his eye on a Craigslist RV, and upon hearing about the Faircloths’ plan, the seller lowered the price substantially. With the additional raised money, he donated to even more families in need.
This was the basis for Woody Faircloth’s non-profit, EmergencyRV. The non-profit pairs those who are willing to donate their campers to a cause with families affected by disaster who need a place to stay.
Fast forward nearly three years, and Woody and Luna Faircloth have delivered 95 motorhomes to California wildfire victims. Over the last two months alone, the Faircloths have made the 40-hour round trip from Denver to California three times.
Many of the recipients are firefighters and other first responders who, in spite of their fight against the flames, still lost their homes. One of them being George Wolley, who battled the Dixie Fire on August 4.
“We fought the fire until we couldn’t fight it no more,” Wolley says. “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.”
My 6 y/o daughter and I raised funds for and purchased an RV and are driving from CO to Chico. We would love to donate to first responder family who lost home in fire. Help us identify family? @JerryBrownGov @GavinNewsom #campfire #doingsomething pic.twitter.com/x87zmeseDe
— Woody Faircloth (@jamesfaircloth3) November 22, 2018
An RV delivery. Credit: AP News.
They delivered their 95th motorhome to John Hunter, an assistant chief with the Indian Valley Fire Department. The same fire that destroyed Wolley’s home took down not only Hunter’s home, but Hunter Ace Hardware, a store his family has operated since 1929. Greenville is his Hunter’s hometown, and he has set to rebuild the area.
He and his girlfriend, Kimberly Price, will live in the RV for the time being while they decide whether or not they will rebuild their home or start over elsewhere. Despite all they lost, the donated RV stands as a reminder of hope and the kindness the world holds.
Between raising four kids and working in the telecom industry, Woody Faircloth is a busy man. However, he has no plans to slow down the expansion of EmergencyRV. He hopes to expand the nonprofit’s outreach to include more natural disasters and producing a faster response time. Faircloth is grateful for the help he has garnered over the past three years, but with other volunteers, there will hopefully be less suffering following tragedy.
Until then, there are more than 100 families on the EmergencyRV waitlist, all of whom Faircloth plans to support.
Credit: Woody Faircloth.
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