“The outpouring of love from communities as far away as Bishop and beyond is so healing and encouraging for us,” said Debbie Bush,  president of the Northern Mono County Chamber of Commerce in Walker.

The firefighters from Olancha, Lone Pine, Independence, Big Pine and Bishop Volunteer Fire Departments raised more than $11,000 in gift cards, giving from their members of their communities.

Bishop Fire Chief Joe Dell brought the first batch of gift cards to Walker Tuesday, delivering them for distribution to the families affected by the fire.

“We couldn’t do what we are doing without their generosity. That community spirit is so special, especially amongst the communities of the Eastern Sierra. We really are all connected to each other. We have to stick together and support each other.”

Many of the families are still in motels in the Gardnerville area. Bush said the gift cards will meet so many immediate needs for the survivors, and came just in time for Christmas. Many of the homes destroyed were uninsured.

“The Inyo County fire departments are proud to help our neighbors recover from the devastating Mountain View Fire that has changed the Antelope Valley community forever,” Chief Dell said. “We are humbled by the outpouring of support from our community to Walker and Coleville and are privileged to assist.” 

A donation center has been set up for the fire victims. The most useful donations are household cleaning supplies, sanitation wipes, laundry soap, paper towels and toilet paper, and full-sized bottles of personal care products. Clothing is no longer needed. Anyone who would like to donate furniture may do so by contacting Jen at (775) 450-0299.

The fire departments, along with the Bishop Police Department, will continue to serve as drop-off locations for gift-card donations for Walker. For more information, call the Bishop fire station during regular business hours, (760) 873-5485.

Photo courtesy of Bishop Volunteer Fire Department. (From left) Bishop Fire Chief Joe Dell, Northern Mono County Chamber of Commerce President Debbie Bush, and Antelope Valley Fire Protection District Fire Chief Rich Nadler.