Rising from the Ashes: Ms. P.’s Journey of Hope and Resilience

On March 21, 2024, life changed drastically for Ms. P., a dedicated grandmother raising two grandchildren in her cherished home of 23 years in Hardy County. That afternoon, wildfires erupted in the woods behind her house. “I called 911 twice,” Ms. P. recalls, “They said if we needed to evacuate, they would let us know. But when ash started coming onto the deck, I knew we had to leave.” With no official evacuation notice, she made the quick decision to pack a bag for her grandchildren and leave. As they drove away, the fire consumed their home and two outbuildings, leaving nothing but ashes behind.

In the immediate aftermath, they took refuge in a motel, uncertain and anxious about the future. “It’s one of those freak things that happen, and when it does, you can’t think. We were lucky the kids were in school at the time; otherwise, we might not have made it out if it was a different time of day,” Ms. P. reflects.

Aftermath of the wild fire which destroyed Ms. P’s home.

Faced with the loss of their home, and unsure of where to turn, Ms. P. reached out to the Red Cross, which connected her to Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa).

“I spoke with Lora Pierce, Disaster Services Specialist from Catholic Charities, and she was incredibly quick to help. Through a Disaster Operations grant from CCUSA, they purchased a 35-foot camper trailer for us,” Ms. P. shares. “We stayed at the 4-H camp while the camper was being set up, and soon, we were back on our land in our new home.”

Despite the overwhelming challenges, Ms. P. remains hopeful. “We’re working towards getting a simple house, contributing what we can while Catholic Charities seeks additional funding. If I could give advice to anyone going through a traumatic event or natural disaster, it would be to take one day at a time and be patient. It’s not an easy process, and it’s not a fast process, but there is help out there.”

Ms. P.’s story is a testament to resilience, community, and the power of timely assistance. Thanks to the compassionate support from CCWVa, she and her grandchildren are rebuilding their lives, one day at a time. Catholic Charities West Virginia is honored to have played a part in their journey towards a brighter future.

For more information about Catholic Charities West Virginia visit www.ccwva.org or click here to donate.

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