Created: 06/24/2014 6:14 PM
By: Devin Neeley, KOB Eyewitness News 4
“It was really awesome to see that people would come together in a time of serious distress,” said Tony Kee Watchman as he surveys the mountains of donations stored at the Fort Defiance Chapter House.
The volunteers are busy moving cases of water and loading trucks. They are cheerful about their work. Especially here, there is no shortage of appreciation.
“We are very thankful, we are very thankful,” said Rose Whitehair. That is a sentiment that is echoed across the Navajo Nation.
The outpouring of support for victims of the Assayii Lake Fire from around the state and across the country has been huge.
“You can see from the piles of stuff, we had to ask for a pause on donations,” explained Whitehair.
The amount of donations is staggering.
“800 pounds of bananas, 2,000 cases of water,” she said.
And that's not all...
“We have snacks, bags of chips granola bars, cereals, hot cereals, dried good, lotion crackers,” Kee Watchamn continued listing items stored there for close to 2 minutes.
And among the mountains of water bottles and toilet paper at the Fort Defiance Chapter House, work other people with laptops and clipboards, making sure everything is logged both in and out.
“Tracking, documenting, they are divvying it up equally to the different affected communities,” explained Whitehair.
The Navajo Nation tells us all the donations have made it or will make it to those that need it.
“They are going directly to community members affected,” state Whitehair.
A sign, made simply of yellow butcher paper taped to a piece of cardboard is leaned against a 10 foot long, 10 foot wide, 5 foot high stack of cases of bottled water. It says “Thank You Firefighters” and lists the names of volunteers who have either helped or donated and lists where the individuals are from. Those Locations include Sacramento, CA, Kansas City, Kansas, Phoenix, AZ and Connecticut. But this sign only tells part of the story.
“It makes us feel good, we are really happy and blessed to have this outpouring of love from the community,” explained Whitehair.
The people in this area cannot say 'thank you' enough.
Kee Watchman explained, “If we try to do it alone we will fall apart, but if we stick together we can accomplish anything.”