Photo Gallery 1 Images
OROVILLE, Calif. -- Tucked away in a shed at the oroville dry dock marine, you'll find Don Bartlett. Hard at work, wearing multiple hats.
“I'm the manager here at Oroville Dry Dock Storage and I manage the facilities and not only that I work on RV's, boats, upholstery, and everything else and my business is RV-Boat Doctor,” Bartlett says with a grin.
Bartlett moved to Paradise from the Bay Area, but shortly after, the Camp Fire happened.
While Don survived, his stepbrother Dennis Zanko was one of the 85 who didn't.
“Dennis was just an all-around good guy. You know, he was happy and just enjoyed life,” said Bartlett.
Then over a year and a half later, a new disaster emerged. The coronavirus pandemic.
With a shortage of personal protective equipment available, an idea dawned on Bartlett in memory of his stepbrother.
On top of his business, Don started getting creative.
Bartlett says, “I'm kind of making the masks in his memory, you know, not to forget.”
He has the skills to do it.
“I do upholstery work so the sewing to me was nothing. I just had to have a different sewing machine,” he said as he compared his industrial machine sitting a few feet away.
But he has an even better heart and work ethic.
“I can do a mask within less than five minutes sometimes. I’m up until two, three o’ clock in the morning," Bartlett said while chuckling.
He added, “…but i enjoy it. That's what puts a smile on my face. Every day.”
All in loving memory of not just his stepbrother, but for all those lost in Camp Fire.
“I miss him, I really do, and the family and everybody else but I still I want everybody to remember those people.”
You can find Don's masks for sale at the Lakeside Supermarket, located down the street from his yard.
The masks cost five dollars with proceeds going to a memorial fund dedicated to his stepbrother Dennis.