An update on one of the horses from the heroic Butte County Fires from reporter Peter DaSilva.
You can read the original story here.
••••••UPDATE ON HILLARY & AUGIE••••••
-Hillary and Augie have been reunited! LE officers from Redding were able to contact Hillary Thursday evening shortly after rescuing Augie and reconnecting them in Chico for a brief moment.
Sorry for the delay in updating their status. I wanted to make sure I had the correct information and to have spoken with Hillary herself, before doing so. I received a call from her last night. Augie is being cared for at a ranch near Gridley. Hillary is OK, banged up from a fall she took with Augie as they navigated 4 miles of fire and others fleeing, which spooked Augie the whole way from their home to the parking lot. Unfortunately, she is having trouble with accommodations due to the overwhelming lack of rooms in the area. She told me that she was sleeping in the back of a pickup truck somewhere in Chico.
I met up with her for the reunion with Augie and me at the Wheeler Ranch & Feed, where Kari Wheeler is housing some 10-15 horses displaced from the fire zone. The reunion had a special moment before it actually happened, when Augie bucked, as Hillary’s boyfriends truck rolled up and parked. He knew who was coming. Hugs all around!!
First, I want to thank the true heroes…the first responder’s firefighters and law enforcement officers from all over the state who put their lives on the line to save the residents, their animals, property and to protect what is left of the greater Paradise area.
I’m honored that you think I’m a hero, but it’s them you should honor.
As a member of the Press, not the “enemy of the people”. I and fellow colleagues who are covering the fire to bring you the information of what is happening in and around the fire area, are the voices of your community when you are not there to witness it yourselves. Please remember, we understand your heartbreak and sorrow, sometimes we are victims of these tragic events ourselves, and that includes the first responders who are also affected by the loss of homes and lives. And they still have to continue doing our jobs. We are all human when it comes down to it. Sorry, we ask hard questions, make images in seemingly at the worst moments of your lives. We are your eyes and ears when you can’t be there. So please bear with us. I can’t speak for my colleagues, but every time I cover events like this, it changes me. Sometimes for the better and some time for the worst. Just glad I can share my experiences through outlets that inform the world for the better of all mankind.
And as for that night ( I think it was night, well it seemed you be), I just adhered to my personal moral obligation, to comfort a stranded new friend who just happened to the love of someone else just like you or me. It was not heroic and the true sense of the word.
Thank you all for the love and concern! There has been so much in comments, shares, private messages and friend request, I can’t possibly read them all and to respond in a manner that they all deserve. Overwhelming is an understatement. I’m still working, doing 12-14 hour days covering the fire, working in the communication dead zone of the fire area most of the day. And then commuting back and forth to Sacramento for the night since all the available rooms are taken up by the displaced residents.
Please remember the thousands of resident who have lost everything, have been evacuated and or have lost their lives in the horrible disaster. Like, shares and beautiful loving comments are wonderful. But in the end, there are people in need. I know I’ll get some kickback for this following statement. Augie and other animals are being taken care of, but their loved ones who care for them on a daily bases are VERY much in need too. If you do care and want to be part of this moment, find an organization and donate to help the survivors of this tragic event.
••••••UPDATE #2 ON HILLARY & AUGIE••••••
Augie is doing great in his temporary home at the Wheeler Ranch & Feed in Biggs, CA. I was told he has become or was always a ham. That’s a question for Hillary.
Hillary is doing good, under the circumstances and is recovering from the fall with Augie. She has accommodations out of the area, close to friends and support, but she knows Augie is in good hands with Kari Wheeler and her family.
Hillary wanted me to pass this along. -she appreciates all the offers to help her but wanted to make sure that the Wheelers who are sheltering Augie are covered in his care and that all other donations go to relief organizations for the other displaced greater Paradise area residents.
In this link is the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Service.
She is so grateful and says Augie is her hero, as he kept her going during the 3.5-mile trek to the shopping center.
FOOTNOTE: After Hillary said goodbye at the shopping center, she drove off with friends from the Holiday Market who also stayed around with her and Augie until it was time for all to leave. One of the two cars and the one she was in, crashed along Skyway on their way out of Paradise to Chico, due to the incredibly dense smoke. I know, the visibility at times dropped to where you could barely see the hood of the car, let alone the road! Totaling the car, they had to abandon it, and the three of them continuing on in the second car. Making it out for a brief reunion with Augie.
As time goes by, more pieces emerge about this story that continues to amaze me. I was just a small part of this story.
If you want to help, please share my updates and check the links above and support all the victims of the tragic fire.