Randall and Lois Stein escaped the Camp Fire of 2018 with the shirts on their backs, and they consider themselves lucky. Three of their neighbors didn’t make it out.
The couple was at a doctor’s appointment in a nearby town when the fire started, and Paradise burned to the ground while they were away. Their home was destroyed in the fire, as was the preschool where Lois taught and Randall’s business inventory of 18 Old Hickory storage sheds. They had to start over from scratch.
“Hebrew Free Loan gave us a lifeline when we had nothing left to our name. Their help allowed us to start putting our life back together.”
After the fire Randall and Lois stayed with relatives for a few months, and support from Hebrew Free Loan helped them provide for their basic needs. When they had the opportunity to buy a mobile home in the small town of Janesville, in Lassen County, Hebrew Free Loan was there to assist in the process of getting their life back on track.
The couple chose to settle in the growing community of Janesville, rather than wait and rebuild in Paradise, since no one knew when that would be possible. Janesville was also a good location for Randall to go back to work as an Old Hickory dealer, and he’s slowly but surely developing a new sales pipeline. An interest-free disaster relief loan from Hebrew Free Loan helped them cover their living expenses until they were generating income again. Lois used to work as a substitute teacher, but Covid-19 has put that on hold.
The memories of Paradise and the Camp Fire will always remain for Randall and Lois, and their new home is not immune to the risk of wildfire. Just last week the North Complex Fire, caused by lightning, forced them to evacuate to Reno. They were grateful to find everything intact when they returned, and feel lucky to be putting down new roots in a place they hope to call home for many years to come.