By Jon France, Sierra Army Depot Transportation DirectorApril 30, 2019
I have learned that there are people who do exceptional things and prefer to 'fly under the radar,' as their motivation is only to help others. This seems especially true when it comes to volunteering to help kids' sports leagues, church projects, volunteering with non profit organizations, helping others in their community and reaching out to people in need.
I want to highlight two people working at Sierra Army Depot who went over and above what most people would do to help out total strangers. This story is not about gushing over what Jason Avilla, a transportation assistant, and his wife, Dawn Huckins, a management analyst did for some of the victims of the Camp Fire.
The Camp Fire was one of California's deadliest and most destructive wild fires. It was named after Camp Creek Road, where it is believed to have originated.
Hopefully this story will inspire us all to do more to help our communities outside of work.
The following is an interview with Dawn and Jason about their support of Camp Fire victims:
Jon (interviewer): "Why did you decide to get involved with helping out victims of the fire?"
Jason: "We made donations before to help other fire victims but what happened with the Paradise fire was really close to home for us. Both Dawn and I went down about six times to deliver supplies, tent gear and support people as best as possible. It was really painful to see families' lives disrupted. Seeing people in parking lots really got to us."
Dawn: "I went down to Chico on Thanksgiving and volunteered to arrange resources and set up people on USA JOBS, I kept hearing stories on how people needed some help and not being able to go to a shelter."
Jon: "How did you connect with the family you wound up directly helping?"
Dawn: "We met our new family through a Facebook volunteer group. The slogan was one family to help one family."
Jason: "On one of our trips to the Chico/Paradise area, we heard that they had to leave the garage they were staying in and move to Wal-Mart Chico tent city with her kids."
Dawn: "It didn't take us long to decide we couldn't let them live in tent city without offering them a place to stay. They accepted. It wasn't an easy decision for our newly adopted family consisting of five people with two dogs moving three hours away from home, but they did it."
Jon: "Did you get help along this journey from friends and co-workers?"
Jason: "Yes quite a bit of help."
Dawn: "Many people donated food, pet food, housewares, building supplies and trailers. Several helped moving trailers and doing refurbishment work on them to have livable space. These were depot employees that wanted to be anonymous in this process. I set up a Go Fund Me account which got enough contributions to make the trailers movable. A local Pampered Chief representative sponsored a party to help with funding for needed supplies."
Jon: "To date, what was the best part of helping this family out?"
Jason: "I was homeless twice in my life when I didn't have any support and resources. Based on my experiences, I feel strongly about helping people and this experience helped in my personal growth."
Dawn: "I felt like I really stepped out of my comfort zone to really help people."
Jason: "This has been humbling to reach out and help total strangers to give them support to start their lives over."