Need for help continues after the Creek County wildfires
BY World's Editorials Writers
Saturday, August 18, 2012
8/18/12 at 4:20 AM
In some ways the godless fire that earlier this month destroyed nearly 60,000 acres and 376 homes is Creek County's Katrina. So many left homeless, so much rebuilding ahead as a consequence of the "devil," as Michael Gready labeled the raging inferno that on Aug. 4 incinerated the sprawling home he spent 18 years building.
Lest anyone not grasp how life has changed for a lot of people, glance back at Friday's photo essay by Mike Simons and Susan Hylton's beautifully told story about the Gready family. Michael and 7-year-old son Austin now call an RV home.
Austin just started second-grade in Mannford, a community ravaged by the fires. He went back to the charred shell of his home so that he could catch the bus and be with his friends on the first day of school.
Generous area residents have reached out to help those struggling to rebuild or those simply struggling to get by for the time-being. The Army Corps of Engineers is offering free temporary camping and RV sites to fire victims at the Salt Creek and Brush Creek recreation areas on Keystone Lake - 918-865-2845.
Anyone willing to lend a trailer or RV is urged to call CrossTimbers at 918-288-2332. There are other agencies collecting donations and other forms of assistance. A good starting place is the American Red Cross, at tulsaworld.com/redcrossdisaster or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Checks can be mailed to American Red Cross, Dept. 995, Tulsa, OK 74182. Those needing assistance may call 918-831-1100.
The Salvation Army also is helping. Donations also can be made online at tulsaworld.com/disastersalvationarmy Checks can be mailed to The Salvation Army, P.O. Box 397, Tulsa, OK 74101 or brought to the office at 924 S. Hudson Ave. Note "OK Disaster" on the check.
On the horizon, federal disaster aid is likely. Such aid - usually in the form of low-interest loans - takes time and must be approved.
In the interim, take a minute to offer more immediate help. Seventy-five children in the Mannford school district started the school year homeless.
Original Print Headline: From the ashes
Austin Gready gets on the school bus at the site of his burned-down home in Mannford Thursday. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World