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Loomis Family’s Efforts to Help Santa Rosa Residents Inspire Others to Lend a Hand

LOOMIS -- As the fires across Northern California rage on, one Loomis family is doing all they can to help those affected.

Michael Dejong already spends his life serving as a Metro firefighter for Sacramento County. On Friday, he and his wife, Christina, were helping another community that's close to their heart.

"We're from Santa Rosa," Christina Dejong said. "We were married and that was the first place we lived for a few years."

"Our first friends as a married couple we met there and they're still friends today," Michael Dejong said.

That's why the Tubbs Fire was especially heartbreaking for them.

"That is really what tugs at my heartstrings, is that could have been us," Christina Dejong said. "How blessed we are that our house is still standing and their house isn't, it doesn't even seem fair."

They knew they had to do something.

"'Well let's just ask everyone we know,'" Christina Dejong recalls saying. "So, we reached out to our church and all of our friends and here we are today."

The response was overwhelming.

"In our church lobby ... the lobby was full of donations, it took four van fulls to bring to my house," Christina Dejong said. "Then the next day my pastor's wife texted me and said, 'You won't believe it, it's full again.'"

On Friday, they loaded up donations of food, clothing, and toys from four Metro Fire stations and Visions In Education, the charter school where Christina Dejong teaches.

"And it's like, you drop a pebble in a flat piece of water and you see those rings continue to go out and out," Michael Dejong said.

Everyone helped with the loading, even some unexpected people. During the process of them loading up, people have seen what has been done and they have wanted to help as well. So, they'll go home, get some stuff and bring it to the couple so that they can bring the items to Santa Rosa.

It quickly became clear the one U-Haul wasn't going to be enough. So, Michael Dejong's firefighter union rented a second truck.

Christina and Michael Dejong were grateful to those who gave so much to the victims who now have so little.

"My hope is that they just feel loved right now," Christina Dejong said.

Along with those donations, the Dejongs also brought 150 lunches for those working the fire lines in Sonoma County.