Community Works to Help Man Who Lost His Home in the Helena Fire and Then Had to Have Surgery
“His home was in the Bigfoot Campground in Junction City,” explained Barbara Pitcher whose relationship to Pruitt is at once complicated–he’s her mother’s ex-boyfriend–and simple–she loves him and had him give her away at her wedding and she considers him her kids’ grandfather.
Pitcher said Pruitt was at a grocery store when the fire broke out and was unable to return home. “He lost everything but his vehicle and whatever he had on,” she explained. “He ended up in Weaverville and we didn’t find him for about a week. He’s now staying at my mom’s in Hayfork.”
Yes, that is right, he’s staying with his ex-girlfriend and her new husband. Life and love don’t always color in the straight lines we try to lay out for them.
Meanwhile, Pitcher was trying to help and getting nowhere. Trying to help her “dad” after the fire was so chaotic and she didn’t know what to do, she explained. “Out of frustration I posted this rant:”
My kids’ grandpa lost his home in the Junction City “Helena” fire. He is homeless! I have to say it has been very frustrating. He got NOTHING from any fire disaster relief fund.
When he went to the shelter he got a change of clothes, a sleeping bag, and a grocery bag of cereal and some canned food. HE NEEDS A HOME!!!
He is older, he is diabetic,…and he’s on a very low income….. What are people supposed to do? We’ve called around trying to get help for him and we just get, “I don’t know, call…”
…Where did all the donations and relief funds go? This man needs help!
IF ANYONE HAS A LIVEABLE TRAILER WITH UTILITIES (Working kitchen, bathroom, bedroom) WE MAY BE VERY INTERESTED.
He lives a very simple life. He can’t afford much, so I’m asking you all to share and hopefully we can get him his own travel trailer and help him start over.
What she didn’t say was that Pruitt had to have surgery right after the fire. The doctors had to open him from hip to shin, she explained to us yesterday. “Next week he is having surgery to remove another blood clot out of the other leg…Medically it will be difficult for him to take care of himself. ”
In any case, Pitcher said, her rant “in no way was trying to get anything free or handed down.” She just needed to blow off some steam and hoped for some help finding a cheap trailer.
And, it worked.
Her Facebook friend, Lois Cordova, shared the rant. And (this reporter’s cousin) Sherry Pavlich knew of a realtor, Linda Walker, that was looking to sell a trailer located in a Trinidad trailer park. When Walker heard of Pruitt’s plight, she dropped her price to help him and his family afford to buy it and agreed to take low monthly payments. Pruitt has applied to live at the park and as soon as they accept him, he can move in.
“We’re very thankful to Linda,” Pitcher said, “not many are willing to work with people and be flexible.”
In addition, other people who read of Pruitt’s plight offered a suggestion that the Weaverville Lions Club might be able to assist and Pitcher said that the Lions Club has been very helpful.
“Now that everything is settling down I feel like we are able to figure things out a little bit better,” Pitcher said. “I think we will be able to pull this all off.”
She added, “Just having the community’s help is amazing…I’m very appreciative of everybody who helped us.”
A large gift is often beyond the ability of any one person or group to offer but, sometimes everyone working together can help ease someone’s burden and add some joy to their life. If you would like to be part of this group of folks helping out, Pitcher also said that Pruitt loves to paint. “[H]e’s very excited about having this space where he can start painting again,” she explained. “If anyone has painting supplies (paints, brushes, canvases, easel, etc) they don’t use or want, I’m sure he would love them.”
If you have some art supplies you would like to gift Richard Pruitt, Barbara’s address is PO Box 394, Eureka, Ca. 95502 and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earlier Chapters on the Helena Fire:
- Hwy 299 Closed at Helena Due to Fire
- A 17-Year-Old Mendocino Girl Recounts How She and Friends Fled the Helena Fire in Trinity County
- Hwy 299 Still Closed After 6000 Acre Wildfire Burned Homes and Sent Around 2000 Residents Fleeing
- Smoke Levels Near Helena Fire on 299 Are Hazardous
- Helena: Maps and 299 to Remain Closed
- Governor Brown Declares State of Emergency for Trinity County Due to Wildfire
- Helena Fire Disrupts Frontier Communications’ Service
- Helena Fire Pushes Toward Junction City After Destroying Over 140 Structures; Fork Fire Spreads West
- Helena and Fork Fires: Maps and Morning Update
- As Their Home Burns in the Helena Fire, a Mother and Daughter Are Saved by Passing Heros
- 299 to Open Twice This Evening
- Hwy 299 to Open Multiple Times Today
- Helena: Containment Creeps Upwards in Some Areas But Fire Continues to Expand
- Schools Closed Due to Smoke or Wildfires
- Is the Helena Fire Impacting You? Trinity County and CalOES Have a Place to Help
- Hwy 299 Will Again Be Open for Only Brief Periods Tuesday
- A Short Drive on Hwy 299 Shows Some of the Devastation Left by the Helena Fire
- Helena and Fork Fires Together Now Over 16,000 Acres
- Some Schools Opting to Close or Go to Minimum Day Schedule for the 6th