Bringing Christmas to Paradise

A pickup truck and fifth-wheel trailer will be donated to family in California.

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A pickup truck and fifth-wheel trailer will be donated to family in California.



OKANOGAN - When it comes to coping with wildfire devastation and long-term recovery, the residents of Okanogan County know all too well the struggles and challenges.

That’s why local resident Lonnie Good said he is on a mission — with the support of the community — to bring a merry Christmas to the residents of Paradise, Calif.

The Camp Fire, which began Nov. 8, was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. It was contained Nov. 25.

The blaze forced the evacuation of Paradise, Magalia, Centerville, Concow, Pulga, Butte Creek Canyon and Yankee Hill, and threatened the communities of Butte Valley, Chico, Forest Ranch, Helltown, Inskip, Oroville, and Stirling City, according to authorities.

Good said after learning about the devastation, he wanted to help those in need.

“I knew from the beginning a couple of things,” Good said. “This idea would resonate with Okanogan and Chelan counties, because of what we’ve gone through and what people have gone through.”

Good, who is the worship team leader at Cascade Bibile Church in Twisp, said he spoke with his pastor and got in touch with Luke Buyert, who is the pastor of Life Springs Church in Chico, Calif., and the Faith Community Resource Coordinator for the Camp Fire.

“It has been so encouraging for us here on the ground who are helping to care for families affected by the camp fire to know that there are people all over the country who are wanting to help us recover,” Buyert said. “Lonnie and his church family have continually been asking how they can help, and we have been able to make connections with specific families with real needs and make a big difference.”

Good said a family who attends Buyert’s church lost everything in the blaze.

After spreading the word about Operation Christmas in Paradise an anonymous person donated a pickup truck and fifth-wheel trailer to the family.

“One family in particular is going to be getting a truck and fifth-wheel RV from Twisp,” Buyert said. “This means their family can stay together and replaces his work truck, as he is a tradesman working as a pipe fitter. They are so excited to have a space of their own, as so far they have been staying with different friend and family for the last three weeks.”

Good said the Concow family has three children, and local businesses are helping to tune up the vehicle and make the trailer road ready.

The goal for Good’s project is to help furnish the trailer with specific needs for the family. In addition, other donations made will be forwarded to the Oroville Hopes Center, where they will be distributed to other families in need.

“It’s more than just Paradise,” Good said. “If people do have cars that would pass the California emissions … we’d find out a way to get them down there, too.”

A specific list of items needed to help the Concow family is available on the Operation Christmas in Paradise Facebook page, or at omakchronicle.com.

Donations of new items may be dropped off at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Omak, KOZI Radio or Chelan Chamber of Commerce, or Cascade Bible Church in Twisp.

“We want specific things that will meet specific needs,” Good said, adding monetary donations can be made online at cbctwisp.com. “General other stuff, we can probably distribute through the Oroville Hopes Center.”

Late last month, Good — along with his wife, Teresa, son-in-law and daughter Brogan and Kayla Kelly — wrote and recorded a song titled “Christmas in Paradise.” It is available through all major online music retailers with sales benefiting Operation Christmas in Paradise.



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