Logandale resident Kurt Hansen was beyond grateful for the experience he has had recently in helping coordinate a local donation drive for the survivors of the Oregon wildfires.
Hansen is a member of the Freebird Motorcycle Club that is part of the Green Nation. The Mother Chapter is in Medford, Oregon where the wildfires have been at their worst.
Hansen said that it started with just a notion and a desire to help out a motorcycle club brother.
“My brother in the Medford area lost his house to the fire and I just wanted to help him,” Hansen said. “We decided we would start to do a drive to help out a couple of families up there. We never expected the response we got! But it has been wonderful and a blessing in disguise!”
The Oregon fires have resulted in roughly 954,000 acres burned, over 40,000 lost homes and over 30 people killed.
What started as a donation drive to load one 16’ trailer with donated supplies ended up turning into a service event that ended up needing six to seven U-Hauls full of donated goods, generous cash donations, a radio station drive, multiple motorcycle clubs’ help and people mobilizing to help from three different states.
“We originally just planned on helping out a couple of families,” Hansen said. “But now we will be helping out hundreds of families, probably around 200-300 people. Mesquite was magnificent and Moapa Valley really responded incredibly well!”
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Besides southern Nevada, the effort received donations from Pomona, CA and other California areas. Residents of the Salt Lake City area have pitched in with help from the local radio station Z104. The station had a donation bin and advertised the drive throughout its service territory. Locally, businesses in both Moapa Valley and Mesquite stepped up to help collect donated items.
Donations have included toiletries, sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, clothes, food, tents, water and more.
Recently Hansen experienced trials including being forced out of the house they were renting due to sale.
But Hansen didn’t spend a lot of time fretting about his own plight.
“When life is down lose yourself in service,” Hansen said. “We were feeling down and a little depressed and I saw the opportunity to help. My brothers needed me.”
Hansen has put a lot of financial means of his own into this drive.
“It has been amazing and has been so worth it,” he said. “I may not be rich, but I have never had such a good perspective on life. It has all been due to a little love and compassion.”
Hansen has received almost enough in donated funds to cover the costs of gas to haul everything 1,100 miles up to Oregon. Once there, the group will be coordinating with local Rotary clubs and other non-profit organizations on the distribution of all of the goods.
“By working with the local Rotary we will be able to give the items straight to those who need them,” Hansen said.
Hansen said that the group has had a lot of help in getting the many donated items labeled, marked and recorded.
Las Vegas motorcycle club, Renegade Patriots MC, spent eight hours sorting and packing the items, he said.
“It is an awesome sight to see these tattooed rough-looking guys show the biggest hearts and help out,”
Hansen said. “We were not expecting that type of response when we started. It’s an honor to represent everyone and the motorcycle community in delivering the donations. I’m kind of numb as it has been more than I ever expected. Truly amazing!”
Besides this drive, Hansen’s motorcycle club helps coordinate other service projects including an annual Easter Basket Giveaway for kids in foster care.