Assigned to Multnomah County’s Emergency Operation Center in Troutdale in response to the Eagle Creek Fire, I was tasked with helping find a way to get some gas cards into the hands of folks stranded by the fire who needed assistance. Several of these individuals and family units were from the East side of the Gorge and could not get back to places like Cascade Locks because of the evacuation.
I was asked one evening if I might be able to assist a couple and the lady’s brother (all of whom are deaf). They were trying to get to their home in the Gorge from a trip they had taken a few days before the fire started. I think they were camping because they had no idea the Gorge was a raging blaze until they got to where I-84 was shut down completely with signs indicating why. Turning around towards the Glen Jackson bridge with plans to take WA-14 home instead, they realized they did not have enough gas or money to do so. Somehow, they found out about the Red Cross shelter in Troutdale but they had no gas and no real idea where the shelter was. I drove to the station where they were just off I-205 and the only way to communicate with them was paper and pen. They were shocked about the wildfire, worried about their home and their old outside cat back home. They hadn’t eaten much since leaving for home, were out of money, food and water. They had no GPS even (they only use their phones as internet devices via Wi-Fi) so they followed me to the shelter. Long story short, the Public Safety Chaplaincy gift card I gave them helped them get home, and this chaplain and the Red Cross were able to get them fed, hydrated, and rested a day or two before anyone was allowed to return to Cascade Locks.
A day or so later, I received a text message with a picture of a very frightened but very much alive cat, with a thank you. There were quite a few other “God” things that happened between that first night and my last contact with them, and several great citizens that stepped up to assist this group. I was privileged to watch God at work, and am grateful for the card PSC provided me that helped them on their way. I don’t know about their personal relationship with the Lord, but the lady did acknowledge to me that she felt God protected and took care of them, and that she was thankful to him for what I was able to do to help.
Thank you so much, Merry Christmas!