On a Personal Note...
The Marshall Fire event is a tragedy on so many levels. Sadly, our community lost people and pets; a staggering amount of homes were destroyed; many homes or neighborhoods were affected by fire damage; and thousands experienced the stress of evacuating.
When the fire started, I felt paralyzed by not knowing what to do. I reached out to those I knew who were affected, but I wasn't sure what I could do to help. Even now, several weeks later, it's a struggle to figure out the best way to show up.
I decided to focus the majority of my efforts on leveraging my connections and experience to help out in ways that would have the most impact. I also donated to GoFundMe efforts, helped with temporary housing efforts, and offered emotional support.
I'm learning the most important thing I can do now and moving forward is to listen...carefully and intently.
Every person or family has different needs and will work through this situation uniquely. People have varying circumstances based on their own networks and personal situations, which will be constantly changing as they navigate their paths forward and explore all their options.
This is going to be a sustained, long-term recovery.
And it's been inspiring to see our wonderful communities rallying around our dear friends in need, just as they have in the past during the 2013 flood and other local fires and tragedies. Even so, some people are overwhelmed with the amount of support available to them and are having a tough time prioritizing their needs.
My plan moving forward is to continue to listen, to adjust my fire recovery assistance efforts as things evolve, and to try and do something impactful every day.
This is a great time to step up and deliver. And I believe the power of offering a listening ear and to be a wholehearted witness are truly the key ingredients to getting through this time...together.
Yours in service, Tony