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  • This summer, California experienced

  • some of the worst wildfires we have ever seen.

  • Over 1 million acres burned, and thousands of homes

  • were destroyed.

  • Firefighters and volunteers have been battling the flames

  • tirelessly all summer long.

  • These heroes put their lives on the line every single day.

  • And I want to help when I can.

  • There's a couple in the audience today

  • who lost their home this summer.

  • Here's a little more of that.

  • Hi, I'm Eric.

  • And I'm Hope.

  • We've been together eight years, and we

  • live in Redding, California.

  • I'm an engineer with Cal Fire, and this is my ninth fire

  • season.

  • I grew up with my father being a firefighter,

  • and I fell in love with it.

  • When the Carr fire started, I was far away

  • working on the Ferguson fire in Yosemite.

  • Deadly wildfires are raging in California.

  • The Carr fire burned dozens of homes in the Redding area,

  • north of Sacramento.

  • 20,000 people were ordered to evacuate overnight.

  • 20 people are now reported missing.

  • We're talking about more than 3,000 firefighters

  • on this fire.

  • These men and women are working 24 on, 24 off.

  • They are exhausted.

  • I asked Eric--

  • I was like, so, should I be worried or anything?

  • I kind of scoffed at it and was like, oh, no, we'll be fine.

  • The fire's in Whiskeytown.

  • We live in city limits.

  • And I wasn't worried about it at all.

  • Then at one point, I got a text from my friend

  • who was on the fire, and the fire was just ripping.

  • And at that point, I went from, everything

  • is going to be OK, to, we're in some trouble.

  • And I look outside, and there are cars racing out

  • of my neighborhood.

  • That's when I started to really panic.

  • I felt like I could die.

  • I help people for a living, and not

  • being able to help the ones that are closest to me

  • is a bad feeling.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • After I get out of the neighborhood,

  • there's feeling of, oh, my God, my house is gone.

  • There was no way my house could have made it through that.

  • I had seen the flames coming straight towards it.

  • (SINGING) I don't want [INAUDIBLE]..

  • It was heartbreaking, because the home that we

  • created together is gone, and there's

  • nothing we can do about it.

  • I'm most grateful for the people that I have in my life--

  • Hope, our parents, my work, the community,

  • everyone that's reached out.

  • It's been unbelievable.

  • I would say the best thing out of it

  • is just realigning your priorities

  • and what's important to you, because you get so wrapped up

  • in all of your things.

  • And for me, it's about what's important,

  • and those are the people in your life, not the things.

  • Eric and Hope, come on down.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • [INAUDIBLE]

  • Oh, my God, [INAUDIBLE].

  • Hi, Hope!

  • Hi.

  • First of all, I say it all the time.

  • I love firefighters.

  • I love firefighters, and we had a very bad fire

  • up in Santa Barbara County, as you know.

  • And firefighters saved my home, and I am forever grateful.

  • But I loved firefighters way before it got to my home.

  • Have you ever seen a fire season--

  • there's no more season anymore.

  • I mean, have you ever seen anything like this before?

  • A season like this?

  • Like you guys saw, this is my ninth season,

  • and I definitely haven't seen anything

  • like this, especially this early in the season.

  • It's been really significant, the fire activity, the deaths.

  • And how many hours on average were you working a day?

  • So we do 24 on, 24 off.

  • And I had been doing that for about two weeks

  • when I was on the Ferguson.

  • Wow.

  • I can't imagine being exhausted, carrying that heavy equipment,

  • being around-- and how hot that is.

  • And you were at home.

  • Like you said, you got out of the home,

  • but then you were in traffic trying to get out,

  • and you're thinking, can I even make it out of here?

  • Yeah, we were stuck in traffic for a good 15,

  • 20 minutes with the flames coming behind us.

  • It was the most terrifying thing I've ever experienced.

  • I can't even imagine.

  • So you don't have a home anymore.

  • Where are you staying right now?

  • So we are staying between my parents' house and his parents'

  • house.

  • Back and forth.

  • Yes.

  • So that you're not burdening one family.

  • You're just taking--

  • Exactly.

  • Or you don't want to be there.

  • Which is it?

  • [LAUGHS]

  • Well, no.

  • They've been amazing, and they've been great.

  • They say we can stay as long as we want to.

  • And so it's not on them.

  • It's us.

  • Right.

  • So you're going to rebuild in that same spot,

  • and your insurance is going to pay for that, I understand.

  • But you had just done some renovations right before,

  • and you hadn't had your house appraised.

  • Correct.

  • Yeah, we bought the house in 2015,

  • and we've been working on it constantly since this winter,

  • though.

  • We did just completely remodel the inside.

  • We did all the work ourselves.

  • It was a lot of fun looking up on YouTube.

  • Hope's really into interior design, so she was the brains,

  • and I was the one carrying it out.

  • But unfortunately, we didn't get it appraised before we lost it.

  • So your friends started a GoFundMe page,

  • which is at $12,000.

  • You're trying to get to $20,000, right?

  • So your friends have raised $12,000, which is great.

  • But as I say, I want to help when I can.

  • I love firefighters, and it's just devastating

  • what happened to you.

  • So our friends at Shutterfly care about supporting people

  • in need.

  • They want to round that up to $50,000

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • Oh, my God.

  • Oh, my God.

  • So please go to our website to find out

  • how you can help those affected by the wildfires

  • in California, because a lot of people need help.

This summer, California experienced

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