"Unfortunately, in Central Washington the annual wildfire season has become the norm. However, the 2014 season was beyond anything we have experienced. Throughout Chelan and Okanogan counties over 350,000 acres burned, 350 homes and businesses were lost and thousands of people were left with nowhere to live. People literally lost everything. This was the single largest wildfire in the State of Washington and the most devastating for those who live and work within the fire paths.
Fortunately the support that followed this disaster was tremendous. Millions of dollars were donated to the Red Cross and other organizations. Clothing and food drives were held by businesses throughout the state and volunteers showed up from across the region and the country to support the relief and recovery efforts. While recovery efforts are still underway I am thankful to say that the fires are gone and progress is being made toward rebuilding the most impacted areas.
I am also grateful for the heart of my company, Washington Federal. Through the support of our colleagues and clients we were able to contribute the following during this challenging time:
- We delivered four loads of supplies as a result of a weeklong food and clothing drive.
- Our colleagues in Central Washington volunteered over 200 hours of their time in the Pateros and Brewster area at one of the Red Cross disaster relief sites.
- Washington Federal provided a relief loan program to those who lost their homes, reducing or completely eliminating fees on custom construction loans or new home purchases.
- At a time when money was critical we were able to gather nearly $15,000 in donations from colleagues and clients. The funds will be distributed by the Red Cross in the most needy and impacted areas.
The generosity of our company, and the flexibility to move quickly with support efforts in this time of community crises, was absolutely first-class. In Central Washington our promise of “Invested Here” has taken on a deeper meaning to us and truly lies at the heart of all we do.
On behalf of your colleagues in Central Washington, THANK YOU for your support!"
- -TJ Minnehan, Washington Federal's Central Washington Division Manager
For more information about the Red Cross's efforts with wildfire victims, visit their website.