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Crisis in Santa Rosa

Captain RIo Ray and a staff member carry supplies to hungry evacuees.


The Tubbs fire was the most destructive wildfire in California history, burning parts of several counties and having a devastating effect on the city of Santa Rosa.

At 3:20 AM on the morning of October 9, Captain Rio Ray was awakened by a call on his cellphone. On the line was one of his staff members, telling him that Santa Rosa was on fire. Captain Ray and his wife Rachel quickly got themselves and their kids dressed. They arrived at The Salvation Army Santa Rosa Corps Community Center and were faced with dozens of evacuees who were already there, seeking help. Captain Ray was then faced with the task of preparing breakfast for local shelters that were full of people.

He went directly to one of the only stores in town still open, and wiped out their pancake section, among other foods. By 5:15 AM, he was back at the Corps cooking breakfast for 1,000 people. The skeleton crew that was there served two shelters for breakfast, lunch and dinner that first day.

From then on, the service kept growing. They recruited fast and able volunteers wherever they could. Captain Ray and his group would be finishing one meal and then praying for enough volunteers, food to cook and plates to serve on. For the next several weeks, Captains Rio and Rachel and their staff and volunteers served tirelessly to give initial relief to Santa Rosa evacuees who were hurting.