The nation watched with horror last November as wildfire in northern California ravaged the town of Paradise and surrounding communities.
This story by Laura Klairmont originally appeared on CNN.
The Camp Fire – named after its place of origin in Butte County – was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history, killing 85 civilians and destroying nearly 14,000 residences. More than 50,000 people were left homeless.
Watching the news coverage from his home in Denver, Colo., Woody Faircloth was saddened by the devastation. So, he browsed Craigslist in the areas affected by the fires and saw an enormous need for temporary housing for evacuees. He next set up a GoFundMe page and invited people to donate so they could purchase and restore a used RV for a family.
Through social media, Faircloth eventually got connected with a family of six that was greatly in need. Just before Thanksgiving, Faircloth filled the RV with supplies and – along with his youngest daughter, 7-year-old Luna – embarked on the nearly 1,200-mile drive to California to deliver the vehicle.
That first donated RV led to another, and by December, Faircloth had more than 100 requests for RVs from afflicted families.
Witnessing how great the need was, Faircloth turned his idea into a nonprofit, RV4CampfireFamily.
“If we have a platform to help, we have to keep helping,” said Faircloth, whose group has so far given more than 65 RVs to Camp Fire survivors.
Today, only a minimal amount of rebuilding has begun in Paradise and a majority of the area’s displaced population is still homeless.
Faircloth connects with RV owners interested in donating or selling their used RVs at a low cost. He refits the RVs himself and negotiates costs when he needs to enlist professional mechanics for heavy-duty repairs. Once the RV is ready to go, Faircloth organizes a way to transport it to the recipient.