Monday, March 23, 2009

The Fire This Time

A year and half ago our community was on fire. The Santiago firestorm was the first in a series that transfixed the nation. For weeks it seemed all Southern California was ablaze, from the Mexican border to the Central Coast. Eight days into the evacuation, our family was escorted back home by a sheriff. Miles of blackened devastation silenced all in the vehicle. Once-majestic oaks smoldered. But soon we came around a familiar bend on our rural canyon road and saw it: the long, squat school building, ringed by ashen fields, stood untouched. A silver ore mining cart, a relic of canyon history, stood proudly at the entrance. The raging fire jumped the road but our firefighters had defended the school. Not a miracle, no. Hard work and sacrifice by those who understood what a school means to a small community, as ours.

"Look," I pointed out to our son from the backseat of the sheriff's van, "There's your school. It survived."

Silverado Elementary School had been defended by our canyon’s volunteer fire forces who risked their lives to preserve the place that gives our community so much. Some of them are proud alumni of the little canyon school. Some of them sent their children to the school.

We’ll be asking those same firefighters to join us this Thursday as we ask the OUSD board to reconsider their mistake and re-open Silverado Elementary School.

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