Woody Faircloth climbs aboard the motorhome equipped with carpet and drapes, carrying a bag stuffed full of snacks and duct tape. Luna, Woody’s 9-year old daughter, is by his side and quizzes the family that just donated the recreational vehicle, which is appropriately named Residency. Smoke billows in the distance from the second-largest California wildfire in California’s history, high above the hills covered with sagebrush.
Father and daughter drive an hour west to deliver the 35-foot (11 meter) RV to their new owner. This volunteer firefighter lost his home in August to the Dixie Fire that destroyed most of historic downtown Greenville. The tiny Northern California mountain community dates back to the gold rush.
Faircloth is the 95th vehicle to be delivered to wildfire victims. Faircloth stated that the nonprofit EmergencyRV.org is entirely volunteer-run and uses donated RVs to fill in for victims who have to wait for months for emergency housing.
“We are grassroots, we can move much faster than that. People helping people. He said, “We can get there almost instantly.”
Faircloth also has a long list people in need of assistance. This year, thousands of wildfires erupted in California and the U.S. West. The flames are harder to control because of a historic dry.
His mission started in 2018 during Thanksgiving Week. Faircloth, who was recently divorced and living in Denver with Luna, 6 years old, watched news coverage about a man fleeing from the Camp Fire in California. The man, despite losing his home, was thankful to have an RV to call home during Thanksgiving. Faircloth was struck by this.
Luna asked him if he had ever been in a motorhome. He said that he was not familiar with the concept. What did you think?
Her response: “Aw, Dad and Santa Claus are going to be proud of you.”
Faircloth stated, “That kinda sealed it.”
Faircloth, Luna and a shotgun-wielding horse, set out to drive west from Denver in the $2,500 motorhome that he had found on Craigslist. Faircloth arrived within three days. They celebrated Thanksgiving together and delivered the vehicle to the victim of the Camp Fire that nearly decimated Paradise, killing 85 people.
Faircloth began receiving donations as a result of the spread of social media posts. Faircloth delivers many drops personally, although some people offered to transport the vehicles.
Although he tries to schedule trips on weekends, he often takes vacation time from his full-time job at Comcast. Faircloth has traveled thousands of miles with Luna along his side over the past three-years. She joined him more often last year because of COVID-19 precautions that prevented her from going to school remotely.