Oakhurst Fundraiser

Published 08/22 2014 10:34PM

Updated 08/22 2014 11:24PM

In Oakhurst, firefighters have the so-called Junction Fire 95% contained.  It’s burned a total of 612 acres and 47 structures, four of which were occupied homes.

Meanwhile, Friday night there an incredible display of generosity as people attending a dinner in Oakhurst donated more than $3,000 to help those facing devastating losses.
The mood at The Queen’s Inn was much more calm and relaxing than the tense moments Oakhurst residents experienced earlier in the week where a constant flow of air tankers swooped in to slow down flames roaring along Highway 41.

“It happened so quickly.  It was very scary,” said Deb Payne, owner of The Queen’s Inn.

Deb Payne and her partner, Anna Marie Dos Remedios, threw this fundraiser together in just two days.

“By our business being saved and not burning down, it makes us feel good we can give something back to people,” said Payne.

A caring crowd of about 200 hundred guests opened their wallets and took part in this healing process.
“I’m not surprised one bit.  This is just awesome what we have here,” said Tony McLean, an Oakhurst Business Owner.

Folks donating a minimum of $10 received a tri-tip dinner.  Von’s, Raley’s and Costco pitched in the food and South Gate Brewing Company in Oakhurst gave some of its beer.

“It’s the least we could do,” said Casey Hawkins, owner of South Gate Brewing Co.

Gene Choin never expected to be at this barbecue.

“I thought I’d be shifting through ashes,” said Gene Choin, an Oakhurst Homeowner.

He’s thankful to now be on the giving end.

“Oh yeah, we threw 20 in there.  Anything to help these people because we know them.  It’s a small community,” said Choin.

The fire may have left a path of destruction behind, but it also sparked a greater sense of compassion.

“You know as you can see, we’ll get some good out of this as well,” said Payne.
As for the fire, Cal Fire plans to reduce the amount of firefighters here over the weekend and they expect to have full containment by Monday morning.

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