Open Heart Advocates honored by Red Cross for Davis House fire response |

Open Heart Advocates honored by Red Cross for Davis House fire response

Area agencies are receiving acknowledgment for their aid efforts in a time of crisis.

Open Heart Advocates — which provides free services for victims of crime, domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and other forms of interpersonal violence — recently received a letter of commendation from American Red Cross of Western Colorado Disaster Program, according to a news release from OHA.

The letter describes the fire that ignited on Sept. 2 at the Davis House in Craig and the coordinated, multi-agency response to assist residents, both during the fire and in the days and weeks following the fire that did significant damage done to the historic building and housing unit.

OHA worked with Craig Fire/Rescue, Craig Police Department, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, Memorial Regional Health Emergency Medical Services, and West Routt Fire District personnel, and “helped account for all residents of the house and their guests, immediately directing people to resources in the larger community and organizing a plan for temporary shelter.”

American Red Cross of Western Colorado Disaster Program Manager Courtney Strother praised the response effort.

“In an area where we do not have a large volunteer footprint, Open Heart Advocates were able to jump in and provide four additional members to assist with the intake of our clients to ensure the process was as organized, timely, and stress-free for residents as possible,” Strother wrote. “In my five years with the American Red Cross, I have never seen a large, multi-unit fire response go as seamlessly as this response and I know it was due to the quick action, knowledge, and hard work from Open Heart Advocates.”

Strother commended OHA personnel, including Dan Bingham, Cindi Crabtree, Meghan Francone, Sherry Kurz, and Jeannie Marchbanks, for their assistance with the response to the fire, as well as the intake for Red Cross clients.

“Open Heart Advocates were instrumental in coordinating the initial response, ensuring all impacted residents were sheltered and had their immediate needs met, and provided necessary emotional support, comfort, and care to the displaced residents,” Strother wrote. “Words cannot express my gratitude and admiration for the staff of Open Heart Advocates who so quickly provided aid to those impacted by this fire and who continue to work with these residents through their recovery process. We are so thankful for your partnership and appreciate the tremendous support and care you give to your community.”

OHA also detailed a long list of local entities and businesses for their aid in response to the fire:
• McDonald’s for free meals to residents on the night of the fire
• Village Inn and Memorial Regional Health dietary staff and administration for providing breakfast and free meal vouchers
• Bear Creek Animal Shelter for assistance with residents’ pets
• Travelers Inn for discounted rates on hotel rooms
• Moffat County Jail for use of their van for transportation of victims
• Moffat County Housing Authority for transportation to Travelers Inn on the evening of the fire, as well as rides on the following days for additional community resources
• Community Budget Center and Love INC for disaster recovery work and resources
• American Red Cross of Western Colorado, which processed 16 claims and assisted 21 individuals in the days after the fire, including for additional needs such as lodging, toiletries, and food

“The immense support of local first responders and community agencies during and after the Davis House fire just goes to show why Craig and its surrounding areas is such a wonderful place to live,” OHA Executive Director Meghan Francone said in the release. “We live in a place where residents genuinely care for their neighbors, and the effectiveness and thoroughness of our collaborative, multi-agency response shows the power of what we can accomplish when we work together to better our communities.”

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