Not long ago neighbors in northern and southern California were forced out of their homes, fearing deadly fires that ultimately devastated communities, displaced thousands, and tragically, took the lives of many. But what we see time after time following a tragedy is neighbors coming together. Communities are resilient, and there are heroes among us.
Marty has lived in Paradise for nearly 20 years. For 18, he’s been working for USPS as a mail carrier, committed to the Chico neighborhoods assigned to him for the past 5 years. Last month as the fires devastated Paradise, he and his wife Nora lost everything.
Despite the tragedy Marty and his wife endured, he went back to work just days after the fire took their home. And with temporary housing at a Redding-area motel, Marty’s commute to the Chico Post Office became too far, forcing him to sleep in his rental car each night between shifts in the USPS parking lot.
Sheri, a neighbor who lives along Marty’s route, learned of his story and was eager to help. She posted to Nextdoor to rally her neighbors in support of Marty, and right away, neighbors began donating clothing, food, gift cards, gas cards, and more.
Sheri’s Nextdoor post to her Cussick Bell neighborhood
Some even offered to house Marty and his wife. He had become more than a mail carrier to the Cussick Bell Community – he was a friend greatly valued by the community he tirelessly served.
Sheri and neighbors greet Marty along his route
“This has been a blessing, and we are overwhelmed by people’s generosity. My wife and I are just one story out of thousands. We hope our story inspires other neighbors to take care of those in need in their community,” Marty said. The road to recovery will be long and difficult, but to know the power of community and feel its impact offers hope in an otherwise hopeless situation.