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home : features : community February 5, 2016

11/27/2013 10:11:00 AM
Plentiful holiday donations sustain Yarnell Fire 'survivors'
Jerry Florman, right, looks at recipe cards with Linda Sandy, Prescott volunteer, at the Model Creek School in Yarnell Saturday when the school opened its doors to fire survivors who picked out donated Christmas and holiday items for free.
Trib Photo/Sue Tone
Jerry Florman, right, looks at recipe cards with Linda Sandy, Prescott volunteer, at the Model Creek School in Yarnell Saturday when the school opened its doors to fire survivors who picked out donated Christmas and holiday items for free.
Trib Photo/Sue Tone
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Yarnell Hill Fire survivors had their pick of holiday decorations from a gym full of donated items on Nov. 23, 2013. Holiday items included boxed trees, ornaments, blankets, hats and scarves, wrapping paper, music CDs - literally, anything one would need to celebrate the holidays, all provided free for Yarnell, Ariz., residents affected by the fire this summer that destroyed many homes and took the lives of 19 firefighters. Photos by Sue Tone.

Sue Tone

Jerry Florman opened one empty recipe box, then another.

"My mother gave us all a recipe box. I lost mine in the fire - and all the family recipes," the Yarnell Hill Fire survivor said matter-of-factly to Linda Sandy this past Saturday in the Model Creek School gym in Yarnell.

Sandy, organizer of the Prescott Christmas Collection program, said she hopes to fill the wooden recipe boxes with favorite recipes from residents of three Prescott senior living facilities, but the recipes were slow in coming in. Instead, she offered Florman a boxed set of new recipes.

Every tabletop, floor space under tables, and walls displayed holiday wreaths, blankets, wrapping paper, and boxed trees free to all Yarnell fire survivors.

Near the recipe boxes, Florman looked through stacks of Christmas music CDs that Sandy said she burned with holiday music of Vince Gill, Celine Dion, Bing Crosby and others. Northern Office Products of Prescott Valley donated the 225 blank CDs.

Molly Parrott, Prescott Valley resident formerly from Flagstaff, delivered quilts Saturday made by her Flagstaff quilting group, the Sew and Sews. The quilts joined a table full of 130 sets of knitted hats and scarves donated by a group of Phoenix and North Carolina knitters.

Denise Devenie and her husband drove up with two sons, William, 4, and Colton, 3, and they hung about 500 handmade tree ornaments made by students at Prescott Christian Academy. One showed a hand-painted tree on a small slice of wood created by fallen firefighter Grant McKee's father.

Children in Wickenburg and Congress also donated more than 200 handmade clay ornaments.

Eagle Scout Tyler Sorgi with Troop 426 from Phoenix built 38 wooden toolboxes and gathered donations and tools to fill them. The leftover money from his project, about $100, went into the Yarnell Hill Recovery Group, said Kaye Huckelberry, who heads up clothing, household and food donations for YHRG.

"Since July, we've been collecting Christmas items and winter clothes," Huckelberry said. "The fire survivors can take what they want; it's all free."

She said some survivors - she refuses to call them victims - are hesitant to accept clothing and household articles. During the cleanup process, homeowners would come in completely covered in dirt and ash and pick out one clean t-shirt - never a white one, she said.

The first doublewide home arrived this past week and the family will move in this week. The maker of the home equipped it with ramps and extra-wide doors to accommodate a wheelchair for the new resident. Huckelberry said two of the six stick-built homes are nearly ready for move in.

"We have 'New Home Boxes' with everything you need to complete a kitchen. We have other boxes for everything you would need for a bathroom," she said.

This coming Saturday, Nov. 30, the school is open to the public where they can pay by donation for holiday items.

Huckelberry also said a successful one-night musical tribute performance in Wickenburg raised $7,000 in October. The show, Yarnell Rising, will come to Prescott on Jan. 30, the seven-month anniversary of the fire and the loss of 19 firefighters.

For more information, visit YarnellHillRecoveryGroup.org which gives names and phone numbers of committee members, or call (936) 499-4556 to speak with Kaye Huckelberry.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2013
Article comment by: Trish Edwards

Much thanks to all the groups and individuals who donated, made, and brought the Christmas/Holiday decorations to Yarnell. It was truly overwhelming to see all the outpouring of care coming into our community. Thank you, Thank you.

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Article comment by: Vicki Velasquez

This was a wonderful opportunity for those that lost their Christmas decorations, lights, and so much more. It is comforting to know that Yarnell will be decorated this Christmas much like in past years. Yet another step towards our 'new normal'. Thanks to all that donated to this effort. Our community thanks you all!!!

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