As a wildfire tore through Berry Creek, California, last month, it destroyed the homes of six of the community’s seven volunteer firefighters along with the department’s fire station. Within days, Woody Faircloth learned of the tragedy and sprang into action, sourcing and delivering RVs for them to stay until they can get back on their feet.
In 2018, Faircloth and his then 7-year-old daughter, Luna, founded the nonprofit RV4CampfireFamily after watching news coverage of California’s deadliest wildfire. The Camp Fire killed 85 people and destroyed nearly 14,000 residences in the town of Paradise and surrounding communities, leaving more than 50,000 people homeless. Faircloth and his team delivered more than 80 RVs to Camp Fire survivors.
There are only about 14 miles separating Berry Creek and Paradise, so Faircloth, Luna and their recently renamed nonprofit, EmergencyRV.org, got to work. They sourced and delivered enough RVs to shelter all of the Berry Creek firefighters who lost their homes. Berry Creek’s Chief Reed Rankin and his volunteer department had also helped battle the Camp Fire. Losing his home forced Rankin to sleep in his truck. He says he lost more than $100,000 worth of tools for his drilling business.
Faircloth and Luna sourced a brand-new RV for him and delivered it personally. When they arrived, Faircloth says, the chief had nothing left but the clothes he was wearing. The RV, which Rankin will share with another one of his firefighters, has several pop-outs and a living room. Upon seeing the RV, Rankin told Faircloth, “It’s shocking; it’s amazing. It’s a home, somewhere to call home for now. … Winter is coming on here in another month and a half, and at least we have somewhere to be.”
Since providing shelter to dozens of families left homeless by the Camp Fire, Faircloth and Luna expanded their mission. They responded to Covid-19 by partnering with a Facebook group called RVs 4 MDs to provide mobile homes to frontline medical workers so they could self-isolate while continuing to fight the pandemic. They are fielding requests from people who lost homes in the storms that hit the Gulf Coast as well as the Iowa derecho. They are also working to find RVs for firefighters in Oregon.
Faircloth describes his nonprofit as a win-win for the people donating RVs and those receiving them. “People have RVs (that) may be used once or twice a year, or maybe they don’t use them anymore at all,” he said. “When they donate them to us, we can immediately deploy them to people that need them most. … It’s super powerful and just an amazing gift from the donors.”