Green Country Woman Tries To Help Hometown Heal After Wildfires

Sunday, August 19th 2012, 6:17 pm

A Green Country woman is making it her mission to see that no wildfire victim is forgotten.

It all started with a Facebook page: Oklahoma Wildfire Info.

It's a clearinghouse for information and support created to respond to the many needs following the devastating wildfires swept through Creek County.

But with so many homeless and without power, getting information from the Internet is difficult right now.

So Chrystal January is hitting the pavement to help rebuild her community, and her mission is personal.

"I graduated from Olive High School," January said. "I have family that still lives in the community. I have a cousin who lost her home that's got a baby due very soon. It's very close and dear to my heart."

See full coverage of Oklahoma Wildfires 

January has since moved from her hometown, but to her, it's still home. And seeing it in shambles after the wildfires is something she just won't stand for.

"(We're) literally canvassing the area street-by-street, and every day we find somebody new that didn't know this information was available," January said.

The information is vital to so many in the area, where to go for help, or how to get clothes or even a warm meal.

"We've got several different churches and places offering free cleanup, whether you've lost a home or not," January said.

For days, January has volunteered her own time to spread the message -- going door-to-door armed with fliers and offering whatever support she can.

It's an undertaking that's already making a difference.

"They had handed someone a flier and said, ‘Our neighbor gave us this, they printed it off the Internet; we didn't know where to turn," January said. "And it was just so exciting to see where they got their information from and that they were here because of us."

The Facebook page has generated nearly 5,000 followers in just a few weeks, though many are still searching for answers.

"There's still a lot of, ‘What's the next step? Where do we go?' But with the community pulling together, they'll work through it a little at a time," January said.

The one thing January is really trying to drive home with victims is to call the Red Cross if they've lost any type of property.

She said as more people register with Red Cross, there's an increasing chance the Federal Emergency Management Agency will take notice and offer assistance.


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