Friday, October 26, 2007

Helpful Dulzura and Barrett Junction residents

Posted @ 2:33 PM

Dulzura and Barrett Junction survivors of the Harris fire stood ready yesterday to help other survivors of the inferno that swept East County.

Those who stuck it out with few supplies and without water and electricity gathered at the Barrett Junction Cafe this morning ready to help those who had been evacuated, people who will come home to nothing but devastation.
Jayapala Sirimanne lost his Dulzura home in the fire, yet was ready to pitch in to help his neighbors. Wearing the same sooty clothing that he had warn for days, Sirimanne said he would do whatever he could to lend a hand.

"I lost, yes, but others lost more," he said. "So you see, I have to be here to help."

These people have a hard-edged independent streak.

"We don't need a government to help," said Tom LaVera, a resident of Barrett Junction. "We can take care of our own,"

Yet these people display a compassion for neighbors who will come back to nothing.

"We will meet the needs of our people," said Brian Batting, also of Barrett Junction. "Whatever they need we will provide."

At the end of breakfast at the cafe, Don Magoffin called for everyone's attention.

The people whose eyes turned to Magoffin were those who stayed behind in the face of the flames and in defiance of evacuation orders. Magoffin ticked off what was needed: volunteers to help open the fire station where the showers worked, transport animal feed from nearby Portrero, and help the Red Cross.

"We all have to pitch in," he said. "Together we can get through this."

- David Hasemyer, staff writer

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