Arizona Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Aid Fire Victims

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Jun 30, 2002, 01:00 ET from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    SALT LAKE CITY, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- As residents of evacuated Arizona
 towns return home, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
 say their main work is just beginning: to help those who lost property in the
 417,000-acre fire.
     Snowflake resident Ashley Davis says, "When we start rebuilding their
 homes and working with them, that's when you'll see the legacy this fire has
 left behind -- a community united."
     Approximately 15,000 of the region's full-time residents are members of
 the Church.  The town of Snowflake, where the Red Cross has set up its command
 post, was named for Mormon colonizers Erastus Snow and William Flake; Taylor,
 up the road, and Heber, just up the hill, bear the names of Apostles John
 Taylor and Heber J. Grant.  Mormon pioneers settled much of the region, and
 thousands of their descendants remain firmly rooted in the area.
     The Mormon community, known for its ability to organize and respond in
 crisis situations, immediately sprang into action when on Friday, 21 June, the
 Round Valley High School "Dome" in Eagar, was selected as an emergency shelter
 for some of the expected 35,000 evacuees fleeing the fire.
     The Red Cross had fewer than a dozen people on hand to receive and assist
 them.  As one of the Church's regional leaders, Steven Heap made a couple of
 phone calls, and before nightfall had 500 helpers standing by.  Another 300
 joined them before sunrise Saturday.
     Heap also placed a call to the Church's huge "Bishops Storehouse" in Mesa,
 and within an hour a semi-trailer full of food, tents, sleeping bags and
 emergency power generation equipment was on the road.  Within five hours, a
 network of Latter-day Saints, all well connected through oft-utilized phone
 trees, was unloading it.
     Heaps says of the volunteers, "They were just desperate to help.  Members
 of the Church and other people in the community stepped right up to the plate.
 We had nurses that got off work, people who took vacation time to come and
 help out."
     During the late night evacuation it soon became apparent that the elderly
 with special medical needs couldn't be sheltered in the dome.  The Red Cross
 said it found a safe haven for the elderly when the Church opened the doors of
 the Eagar Stake Center, a regional LDS meetinghouse.
     With no hospital beds available, a call went out for recliners and within
 an hour over a hundred of the chairs lined the gym and halls of the building.
 The ladies of the Church's long-established and well-oiled "Relief Society"
 staffed the facility's kitchen and the elderly spent their time in a peaceful
 atmosphere playing games, the piano and working puzzles.
     Chad Ettmueller, the Red Cross Officer in charge of the Eagar Shelter
 says, "It has just been amazing.  The Church has provided their own nurses who
 are members of the Church augmented by services from the Red Cross."
    Pinetop resident Helen Jones says she was frightened during the evacuation
 but after being brought to the special needs shelter at the Church says, "I
 worry not a bit...They are a giving, devoted people.  You can feel their
 hearts."
     Lakeside evacuee Robert Barnes agrees, "They bend over backwards to help
 you, all right.  They treat you like a human being with respect and kindness
 and if there's anything you need, they get it and if they can't get it,
 they'll find someone to get it for you.  They're going to have to drag me out
 when I leave."
     From Payson to Holbrook to Snowflake and beyond, members of the community
 pitched in to help the unfortunate fire-stranded.  Many opened up their homes
 to thousands who needed help.  Claysprings evacuee Lana' Rexroat will soon
 deliver her fifth child and says, "The first day we were here I happened to go
 into pre-term labor and they offered a place for us to stay."
     Snowflake resident Ashley Davis says at one time he and his wife had 31
 people staying in their home with three bedrooms.  His wife Shauna says,
 "After you hit about 12 to 15 it just all blends together.  You just find a
 place."
     The willingness of Church members to assist in the crisis extended all the
 way to Show Low where the local seminary building was transformed into the
 Fire Information Command Center.  Fire Information Officer Danny Randall says,
 "I look on the walls there and I see there are pictures of Christ and say,
 well we need all the help we can get and with him looking over our shoulders
 I'm sure we're going to put this monster to sleep."
     It now appears the monstrous fire is dying down but Church members are
 poised to assist the hundreds who lost their homes in the disaster.  Under the
 direction of the Red Cross, Church leaders are taking daily trips to the fire
 with victims to comfort them as they view what's left of their homes.  When it
 comes to Church members helping neighbors rebuild their homes, Ashley Davis
 says, "You can count on it."
     As it often does in worldwide emergency situations, the Church sent a
 semi-trailer, loaded with food, clothing, blankets, and personal hygiene items
 from the Bishops Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City to three sites in
 Arizona Thursday: Payson, Eagar and Holbrook.
     The Church has also donated 50,000 dollars in cash to the Red Cross in
 Arizona for their use in procuring food supplies for the evacuees.  An
 additional 75,000 dollars has gone to assist five volunteer fire departments
 in the region.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X41323467
 
 

SOURCE The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    SALT LAKE CITY, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- As residents of evacuated Arizona
 towns return home, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
 say their main work is just beginning: to help those who lost property in the
 417,000-acre fire.
     Snowflake resident Ashley Davis says, "When we start rebuilding their
 homes and working with them, that's when you'll see the legacy this fire has
 left behind -- a community united."
     Approximately 15,000 of the region's full-time residents are members of
 the Church.  The town of Snowflake, where the Red Cross has set up its command
 post, was named for Mormon colonizers Erastus Snow and William Flake; Taylor,
 up the road, and Heber, just up the hill, bear the names of Apostles John
 Taylor and Heber J. Grant.  Mormon pioneers settled much of the region, and
 thousands of their descendants remain firmly rooted in the area.
     The Mormon community, known for its ability to organize and respond in
 crisis situations, immediately sprang into action when on Friday, 21 June, the
 Round Valley High School "Dome" in Eagar, was selected as an emergency shelter
 for some of the expected 35,000 evacuees fleeing the fire.
     The Red Cross had fewer than a dozen people on hand to receive and assist
 them.  As one of the Church's regional leaders, Steven Heap made a couple of
 phone calls, and before nightfall had 500 helpers standing by.  Another 300
 joined them before sunrise Saturday.
     Heap also placed a call to the Church's huge "Bishops Storehouse" in Mesa,
 and within an hour a semi-trailer full of food, tents, sleeping bags and
 emergency power generation equipment was on the road.  Within five hours, a
 network of Latter-day Saints, all well connected through oft-utilized phone
 trees, was unloading it.
     Heaps says of the volunteers, "They were just desperate to help.  Members
 of the Church and other people in the community stepped right up to the plate.
 We had nurses that got off work, people who took vacation time to come and
 help out."
     During the late night evacuation it soon became apparent that the elderly
 with special medical needs couldn't be sheltered in the dome.  The Red Cross
 said it found a safe haven for the elderly when the Church opened the doors of
 the Eagar Stake Center, a regional LDS meetinghouse.
     With no hospital beds available, a call went out for recliners and within
 an hour over a hundred of the chairs lined the gym and halls of the building.
 The ladies of the Church's long-established and well-oiled "Relief Society"
 staffed the facility's kitchen and the elderly spent their time in a peaceful
 atmosphere playing games, the piano and working puzzles.
     Chad Ettmueller, the Red Cross Officer in charge of the Eagar Shelter
 says, "It has just been amazing.  The Church has provided their own nurses who
 are members of the Church augmented by services from the Red Cross."
    Pinetop resident Helen Jones says she was frightened during the evacuation
 but after being brought to the special needs shelter at the Church says, "I
 worry not a bit...They are a giving, devoted people.  You can feel their
 hearts."
     Lakeside evacuee Robert Barnes agrees, "They bend over backwards to help
 you, all right.  They treat you like a human being with respect and kindness
 and if there's anything you need, they get it and if they can't get it,
 they'll find someone to get it for you.  They're going to have to drag me out
 when I leave."
     From Payson to Holbrook to Snowflake and beyond, members of the community
 pitched in to help the unfortunate fire-stranded.  Many opened up their homes
 to thousands who needed help.  Claysprings evacuee Lana' Rexroat will soon
 deliver her fifth child and says, "The first day we were here I happened to go
 into pre-term labor and they offered a place for us to stay."
     Snowflake resident Ashley Davis says at one time he and his wife had 31
 people staying in their home with three bedrooms.  His wife Shauna says,
 "After you hit about 12 to 15 it just all blends together.  You just find a
 place."
     The willingness of Church members to assist in the crisis extended all the
 way to Show Low where the local seminary building was transformed into the
 Fire Information Command Center.  Fire Information Officer Danny Randall says,
 "I look on the walls there and I see there are pictures of Christ and say,
 well we need all the help we can get and with him looking over our shoulders
 I'm sure we're going to put this monster to sleep."
     It now appears the monstrous fire is dying down but Church members are
 poised to assist the hundreds who lost their homes in the disaster.  Under the
 direction of the Red Cross, Church leaders are taking daily trips to the fire
 with victims to comfort them as they view what's left of their homes.  When it
 comes to Church members helping neighbors rebuild their homes, Ashley Davis
 says, "You can count on it."
     As it often does in worldwide emergency situations, the Church sent a
 semi-trailer, loaded with food, clothing, blankets, and personal hygiene items
 from the Bishops Central Storehouse in Salt Lake City to three sites in
 Arizona Thursday: Payson, Eagar and Holbrook.
     The Church has also donated 50,000 dollars in cash to the Red Cross in
 Arizona for their use in procuring food supplies for the evacuees.  An
 additional 75,000 dollars has gone to assist five volunteer fire departments
 in the region.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X41323467
 
 SOURCE  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints