Oak Hill Wildfire Relief hopes fire victim’s home will be ready to move back into by Christmas

September 1, 2011  

OAK HILL – Construction is plowing ahead at the home of Lily Henric, who lost everything in the April 17 Oak Hill wildfire. However, Oak Hill Wildfire Relief is still in desperate need of skilled volunteers to aid in framing and reconstructing the home’s roof.

More than 120 volunteers have so far aided in the rebuilding and fundraising effort, but it has proved trickier to recruit skilled volunteers.

“We’re really proud of these volunteers,” said Gary Hunt, co-chair of Oak Hill Wildfire Relief. “It’s a feel good story. It’s actually like an old-fashioned barn raising. It’s neighbors helping neighbors.

“We’ve had plenty, but we’re still hoping for more. We’re feeling pretty good about our chances.”

With enough volunteers to help move the reconstruction forward, Hunt said it may be possible that Henric could move back into the house before Christmas, “which would be a great Christmas present,” he said.

The organization also is looking for a headlining band willing to perform at a music fundraiser at Nutty Brown Cafe. A date hasn’t yet been set for that event (organizers will wait and schedule to fit the headliner’s availability), or an upcoming fall charity golf tournament.

But the funds for the group have been rolling in. So far Oak Hill Wildfire Relief has raised more than $25,000 for those affected by the fire, including $4,200 from an art show held last weekend. Hunt said up to an additional $3,000 in donated funds could still come in from that event.

Multimedia artist Daryl Howard, who constructs her three-dimensional works with a variety of materials including wood and vintage silk, holds an annual art show in which the proceeds are donated to a local charity or individual. This year she decided to donate the proceeds to helping rebuild Henric’s home after the pair met at lunch a couple of months ago. Henric’s home was one of two completely devastated homes that were not insured.

“She makes some beautiful art,” Hunt said of Howard, noting that that the group will be meeting to decide how to distribute those funds.

Plumbing and electrical services will be donated in reconstructing Henric’s home, but the costs still will be substantial.

Oak Hill Wildfire Relief recently sent $800 checks to eight insured residents with substantial losses, and set aside an additional $3,000 for Henric following an August garage sale that raised more than $6,000.

“That was a wonderful day,” said Oak Hill Wildfire Relief co-chair Karon Rilling of the day checks were mailed to residents. “Those homes were extensively damaged and need extensive restoration.”


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