Today, we’re welcoming Deanna Jones back home. Northern California has been plagued with what seems like a new record breaking fire every year. So much of the national focus falls on these large and horrendous fires, and many of the, by comparison, smaller fires have been forgotten. The Clayton Fire ripped through Lower Lake and 175 homes were lost and many families displaced. Among those who lost their homes was Deanna Jones.
Deanna moved to Lake County in 1995, looking for work and a place to raise her family. As we arrived for the dedication, her green thumb had already been at work planting fruit trees and vegetable gardens. Jones said she was “[Getting] back on my own dirt.” Her perseverance and patience in the process made for teary eyes and big smiles. We invited representatives from all of the organizations who had a hand in getting her home.
As HCRN and our building project have become more dedicated to this region of the country, we’ve made some fantastic connections to other organizations. It’s because of these partnerships that we’ve been able to get as many people home as we have. Deanna Jones’s is home due to a collaboration with Mennonite Disaster Service; Team Lake County, the Lake County long term recovery group; Hammers for Hope, who have brought access to additional funds for fire survivors; North Coast Opportunities; St. Vincent De Paul, who furnishes homes with their “House in a Box” program; The Lake Area Rotary Club Association; Catholic Chairities; Middletown Bible Church; and of course the volunteer force from Hope City.
At every home dedication, HCRN likes to give out a few small gifts as house warming presents. We bring a small cross, as a reminder of Who it is we serve, and Who made this house possible. We also bring a quilt, hand made by one of our church partners, and a nice little wall decoration. As a little piece of entertainment, we bring a copy of “The Peanuts” movie signed by the Schulz family, who have been fantastic partners to HCRN and Hope City. The final thing presented to Deanna, is her house key. The excitement on her face was priceless.
We asked her to speak a little about her experiences in getting home. Jones said, “I don’t know what it is about Lake County, everyone just comes together for a goal. This community raised my children, it gave me work, it provided me with a life. My family lives across the United States. I tell them, there’s no place like home.” Jones’s attitude is so amazing and positive. Her daughter lost her home in the same fire that took Deanna’s, and Jone’s son lost his home in the Camp Fire that tore through Paradise. Luckily, they all made it out safe, and Deanna got to go see her grandchild’s high school graduation in Paradise, an extra special event for that community, and a moment of pride for Jones.
Kevin Cox, HCRN CEO and founder, closed out the dedication with the biggest praise for Jones. “[Her] perseverance has been unbelievable, we’re blessed to be a part of this.” It’s good to remember we get to do this every day. We get to bring people home and help restore their lives. If you’d like to be a part of Rebuilding Homes and Restoring lives, contact Travis Cox at [email protected], or give him a call at 574-333-7728.