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Bear Fire survivors get help from global non-profit and local camp fire survivors

A global humanitarian group who helped during the Camp Fire, came back to Butte County to help survivors of the Bear Fire. Action News Now spoke to the President of Global Empowerment Mission, Michael Capponi, to see who they paired up with locally to help survivors.

Posted: Oct 16, 2020 8:47 PM
Updated: May 21, 2021 11:45 AM

Oroville, Calif. - The North Complex is now 94% contained at 318,930 acres. However, many survivors still have a long road ahead in the recovery process.

A global humanitarian group who helped during the Camp Fire, came back to Butte County to help survivors of the Bear Fire.

Action News Now spoke to the President of Global Empowerment Mission, Michael Capponi, to see how they stepped up.

"Today it is 37 families directly effected, every single person lost everything. Homes burnt to ashes, we are giving them some financial assistance,” said Capponi.

Capponi says in total they handed out $13,500 today at their event today.

"The Sue Hostetler and Beau Wrigley Family Foundation gave us a grant and with this grant we are distributing these funds locally,” said Capponi.

Global Empowerment Mission teamed up with E&J’s Mobile Kitchen and Paradise Gleaners to help survivors.

"We were all burned out of there in the Camp Fire, and we all got together and said this is our chance, this is our chance to come together and help people from North Complex,” said Richard Mosell of the Paradise Gleaners.

"When this fire happened, with the wind the way it happened when you see their Facebook stories it just hit home,” said Elizabeth Jernberg from E&J's Mobile Kitchen.

Richard Mosell and Elizabeth Jernberg have been working with survivors to give them hot meals on weekends and provide them with their weekly grocery needs.

Survivors go to the warehouse where the Gleaners are now located in Oroville.

They say they have no plan to stop helping.

"We have a short term goal of six months, because we know the first six months are the hardest. We have a long term goal of one year, because we know that first year is trying to find that stability,” said Jernberg.
One survivor said it was hard to accept the help.

"I am usually used to helping people out, this is the last thing I thought I would ever be able to accept.”

Capponi says they are also partnered with Bethenny Frankel’s BStrong, he also said they have trucks with more supplies on their way to Butte County.
One of the families that received gift cards today from Capponi was Tamlynn Ferguson’s family.

"I am still sort of sad, but it's okay because now we are going to get a new house,” said Aubrey Molohon, Ferguson’s daughter.

Aubrey Molohon is eight years old and explained her family lost everything.

"We got our most important things, our family, our health, and our dogs,” said Molohon.

Aubrey is staying positive and her mom says she is trying to keep things normal for her kids. She explained the morning of the fire was like any other school day.

"Shortly after turning in homework it got really dark and orange, it has never been like that when we had to evacuate,” said Ferguson.

Ferguson says her husband is on a hot shot fire crew, so he stayed behind to try and save their home, but couldn’t.

"I cried, I didn't want to tell the kids, I didn't tell the kids for two days,” said Ferguson.

Ferguson says right now they’re staying in a travel trailer.

"We went up, but we haven't been able to sift through anything, I don't want to sift with my kids, I don't want them breathing that in,” said Ferguson.

Ferguson added as far as work, she is unemployed.

"I lost my business, I own the laundry mat and bar in Berry Creek with a friend Jonathan Gonzalez and we don't have any income now, our businesses are gone. I was a property manager, all the houses I managed are gone. It's a whole new ballgame for us, I have never not had an income,” said Ferguson.

Ferguson says she is looking for new jobs, but for now she is thankful for the people who are helping her and her family.

"It helps talking to somebody who knows what is going on and what to expect. If you have never been through this you don't know what to do, I remember for the first two weeks I was in a shock like what do I do? we have nothing,” said Ferguson.

The next step for Ferguson is to try and get home to give her kids some sense of normalcy.

She says they want to move their trailer back on their property as soon as they can.

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A significant weather system will impact our area beginning late tonight, lasting through the day on Monday. This includes a large amount of snow for the mountains, with rain and wind for the valley and foothills. A steady rain will begin to move into our area around 1am Sunday.
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