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Being allowed to help was music to our ears

A week ago I sat at my desk and cried. It was the fifth day of smoke. Reports of the growing mini-city at the fairgrounds housing firefighters from all around the United States were astonishing. My tears were mainly unexpressed gratitude to them and their seemingly endless battles being fought out in the forests.

I wanted to help. I wanted to say thank you.

My husband and I went to the fairgrounds to ask if we could play music for the firefighters (we are musicians). The gatekeepers sent us to the Tahoe National Forest Service office in Nevada City. We gave them our name and phone number. Terry McMahan, communications officer, called us that day and loved the idea.



The following morning we met with Terry McMahan and Greg Cleveland, the commun-ication officers in charge of the camp. They were extremely friendly and cordial and gave us a tour of the headquarters. It was impressive how this mini-city had been set up, and how efficiently it handled the over 750 firefighters.

That evening, several of us played until dark on a make-shift stage next to the mess tents. The firefighters and crews enjoyed the music very much. Some smiled, some danced a little while waiting in line for their dinner at the catering truck, and some came up to us with big, tired smiles and shook our hands.




There have been musicians playing at the camp every night this week!

It was so easy to simply say “I want to help.”

Barbara Lynn and Roger Shimoff

Grass Valley


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