Legion Family members help veterans and their families forced from their homes by November's Camp Fire. Photo courtesy of Henry Sanchez.

Relief efforts continue in wake of California fire

Some 60 veterans and their families impacted by last month’s Camp Fire near Paradise, Calif., received help in the form of $300 grants on Dec. 8 at Post 95 in Oroville, part of an effort by California Legionnaires to immediately help those left homeless by the deadliest wildfire in state history.

“We were able to issue $19,000 in $300 increments,” said Henry Sanchez, District 6 adjutant.

Sanchez had reached out to District 4 Commander John Leach in the aftermath of the Camp Fire to offer his help in coordinating National Emergency Fund (NEF) grant information for those affected by the wildfire. Sanchez is a member of Post 233 in Elk Grove, a few hours south of the area destroyed by the Camp Fire.

“My wife and I were delighted to help out,” said Sanchez, whose wife, Ann, is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.

The Sanchezes and other Legion Family members volunteered their time Dec. 8 to distribute money at Post 95 to veterans impacted by the fire. Sanchez also helped three Legion members with the NEF application process, he said.

“I don’t have the words to describe how sad I feel seeing people go through this,” said Sanchez, who added that “99.9 percent of these veterans we helped lost everything.”

“It’s very moving to see how many people (in California and across the country) felt compelled to donate to this cause."

Donations to Post 45’s Camp Fire Relief Fund can be made by sending a check or money order to American Legion Post 45, P.O. Box 773, Corning, CA 96021. Include “Camp Fire Relief Fund” on the memo line of the check or money order to ensure the money goes to the proper account.

In addition, the National Emergency Fund is available for American Legion and Sons of The American Legion members who have been impacted by the wildfires as well as Legion posts. The NEF provides up to $3,000 for Legion and SAL members with an active membership who have been displaced due to damages to their primary residence, and up to $10,000 for posts that have been damaged by a natural disaster and whose programs and activities within the community are impacted. To apply for an NEF grant, please visit www.legion.org/emergency.