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Community members step up to meet needs, regardless of situation

Community members left and right have stepped up to help evacuees and also those who didn't have time to rescue their animals.

Posted: Sep 12, 2020 8:38 PM
Updated: Sep 12, 2020 8:57 PM

LANE COUNTY -- Among the chaos and destruction, community members are proving they will do whatever it takes to help those in need -- regardless of their situation.

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Nicholas Hammond and his family live up the McKenzie River about a mile west of Vida.

“At 12:33 in the morning, we got the emergency alert on my phone and it said “Level 3: Evacuate now,” Hammond said.

He stepped outside and saw ash everywhere, along with hundreds of cars driving along the highway trying to make it to safety.

"I got my wife up," Hammond said. "I got my boys out of bed and got them some clothes on. Within about three or four minutes, we were in my truck. At the last minute, my wife grabbed her car. We pretty much left with the clothes that we had on our back. The clothes I’m wearing now are clothes people have donated to me.”

Even after realizing their home was gone, there was a life lesson Hammond wanted to instill in his boys as they drove away from the ashes.

“Man, you see these first responders,” Hammond said. “They’re driving into the fire, and we are leaving. I was like, man boys, I just want you to remember this: there's all this craziness going on in the world, but there's people right now driving into this and we are driving away.”

Hammond said their home is a complete loss and burned to the ground, but it is gratitude that’s keeping them strong. He said that a few days ago, when he noticed the fires getting worse, he put his boots and jeans on to see what he could to to help. As he puts it, his family has been blessed tremendously, and he wants to give those still in need of help.

“We’ve been so taken care of by this community,” Hammond said. “It’s beyond my wildest imaginations. The blessings we’ve received in the last 60 hours have been unreal from this community I'm a part of. I can't be more thankful right now for everybody that’s stepped up. Watching people help other humans right now is amazing to me.”

The support doesn’t end there. Community members left and right have stepped up to help evacuees and also those who didn't have time to rescue their animals.

Trevor Lammers is the owner and founder of Lammers General Contracting. With the help of friends, family and even strangers-- him and his team have brought around 200 animals to safety.

He has originally created a Facebook post, offering to lend a helping hand to those in need, but he didn't expect the post to blow up.

“I think it got like 2,700 shares on my first post,” Lammers said. “After that, it just got crazy.”

Lammers said the group has travelled not just in-state but also to Vancouver, Washington, totaling around 1,500 miles.

"They’re obviously super stressed out,” Lammers said. “We're just glad we can get them out of there. Some people's horses are like their babies, so it's been great."

Akins Trailer Sales in Harrisburg has loaned trailers, and countless others have stepped in to help. Whispering Meadows Equestrian Center is housing many of the horses, along with Three Oaks Stable in Harrisburg.

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“Everybody was really divided before all this, so now it’s good to see a community come together," Lammers said. "A lot of people have been out there to help people.”

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