Summit residents focus on rebuilding

May 27, 2008 7:51:00 PM PDT
With the fire now 100 percent contained and everyone being allowed to return to their homes, or what's left of them, the focus now is on recovery and rebuilding.

For those people burned out of their homes, the Red Cross is moving them from hotels and motels to temporary housing and sometimes the temporary housing can last up to a year at the rebuilding process takes place. Some victims are finding help in more unexpected places. Melina McClelland is full of hope, thanks to the kindness of a stranger. The 24 acres she and her husband own is now blackened earth. Their home is now an empty charred shell with no insurance.

"I married a country guy. That is where we both belong. We're not looking for anything fancy. Just a roof over our heads," says Melina McClelland.

And a roof is what Michael offers. He's loaning them an RV from his Morgan Hill lott. He says other local businesses have donated RVs space with water and power for fire evacuees to live, temporarily.

"It's been a big community thing. Everyone has kicked in. That made me feel good, just to be involved in something like that," says Alpine RV President Michael Jacque.

In Corralitos, many home owners do have insurance. Farmers Insurance had adjusters on hand and are now processing about 11 claims.

"The process can be more than a day or two, as far as having to look at the property, asses what is going on. All we want to do is to be able to pay maximum amount under the contract," says Farmers Insurance district manager Hugh Seagreaves.

A Santa Cruz chapter of the American Red Cross helped 27 families, nearly 50 people with temporary housing and the aid is not just physical comfort, opening 310 cases of people just needing to talk.

"Most of the people need, especially in disasters like this, is mental health services and we have a team of counselors that are all professionals," says Lindsay Sergersin of the Red Cross.

The healing process can be just as difficult as rebuilding in times of crisis, unexpected gestures of generosity, can make all of the difference in moving forward.

"What is funny is that there is a different perspective on things of value in my life. I've saved my husband and my pets and I feel like a very lucky person," says Melina McClelland.

Her rebuilding will begin, soon. Local Red Cross is in need of cash donations, but they are also asking large companies to make sizeable donations such as shovels and rakes, things the fire victims will need in the next stage of this long process.


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