PHOENIX, Ore. — Over 3,000 structures were destroyed by the Almeda Drive Fire. Many are looking for whatever disaster relief they can, but may not have reliable internet to access DisasterAssistance.gov.
So Phoenix Mayor Chris Luz organized a volunteer task force to help Phoenix residents register for FEMA Disaster Aid at the Phoenix Civic Center.
“Our goal here is to have people walk in the door who can't go online to sign up for assistance ... and we're gonna help them sign up,” Luz said. “The volunteers are roaring to go and we really appreciate them being here."
For some volunteers, helping people register is a way to give back after their home narrowly escaped the flames.
"But for a lot of luck I could have been one of the people coming in today,” Pete Jorgensen, an Ashland resident, said.
Jorgensen’s home was only a few blocks from where the Almeda Drive Fire started. He knows how lucky he is because some of his close friends did lose their homes in the devastating fire.
“I’ve been to their homes and their homes are nothing but ash now,” Jorgensen said. “You just can't believe how lucky you are in life. And if you can do something to help those that weren't [as lucky] then you need to do it."
Jorgensen hopes the volunteer efforts at the Phoenix Civic Center can give people who may have lost everything a human touch as they deal with this tragedy.
“Hopefully it makes them a little bit more comfortable with this process,” Jorgensen said. “It's gonna be a long process, there's no question about that. This was huge and so, anything I can do to try and help them along the way even to give them a sense of well being is worthwhile."