Every Sunday at Peng to the Point, we talk about the world away from the San Jose Sharks.
Heather Hooper had just moved to wooded Scotts Valley in Santa Cruz County in March. Five months later, she and her family endured their first evacuation experience, as the CZU Lightning Complex fires breathed down their necks.
“To go through your belongings and pick what is most important, what couldn’t be replaced…It’s just an unnerving process,” Hooper, director of the Sharks Foundation, acknowledged. “We were incredibly lucky that we had time. There are a lot of people who are evacuated, it’s within that minute you have to be out of the house.”
Hooper, her husband Patrick (director of digital for the San Jose Sharks), and their two daughters (Graysen, of Amazing Gray fame, and Quinn) stayed at a friend’s place for eight nights. On August 28th, they returned to a home…untouched by the fire.
“I’m incredibly grateful to the firefighters who worked so hard to contain the fire as much as it possibly could be,” Hooper said.
Just four miles away from Scotts Valley, however, the town of Ben Lomond wasn’t as fortunate, as multiple homes and businesses burned because of the CZU Lightning Complex fires. The CZU fires included, CAL Fire reported earlier today that 14,800 firefighters were battling 23 major fires in the state of California. Since mid-August, when a series of lightning strikes ignited wildfires across the state, over 1.6 million acres have burned, nearly 3,300 structures have been destroyed, and eight lives have been lost.
The San Jose Sharks are trying to help.
Since 2016, San Jose’s September 50-50 Raffle has benefited either the Red Cross or the CAL Fire Foundation. But since the Sharks aren’t playing this month, they’ve opened a micro-site where fans can donate directly to Red Cross wildlife relief efforts.
Every dollar counts — if you don’t believe it, consider the example of Camp Chesebrough, a 544-acre Boy Scouts of America camp site located in Los Gatos.
Per Camp Chesebrough, last week, they were able to offer CAL Fire the use of 20,000 gallons of water to fight the approaching wildfires and protect the camp.
And it might have been your money that saved the camp.
In April 2019, the Sharks made the Boy Scouts of America’s Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council the beneficiary of its home game 50/50 Raffles that month. The ensuing Sharks Foundation grant funded the construction of four water tanks at Camp Chesebrough.
It’s not just about money either — fans can also volunteer their time to the Red Cross to help those impacted by the recent wildfires.
Hooper says the Sharks Foundation is planning other significant wildfire relief initiatives, some which can’t be revealed yet. She is hoping, COVID-19 willing, that the Sharks can once again create specialty warm-up jerseys which can be auctioned off to benefit the San Jose Firefighters Burn Foundation.
The San Jose Sharks, in conjunction with Fanatics, will also try to replace jerseys and other Sharks memorabilia destroyed or damaged by the wildfire — please contact the Sharks Foundation department here if you or a loved one has been affected.
Sheng’s Travel Fund
Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.