Butte County Family Gives Thanks Amid Great Loss

FOLSOM -- As many of us prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, some evacuees of the Camp Fire are feeling mixed emotions.

Many who’ve escaped with their lives have lost their homes.

"I’m thankful and grateful I have my family," said Maxx Schooler. "That’s not the same for a lot of people."

As Maxx and Vaughna Schooler prepared for Thanksgiving, the idea of being thankful took on a whole new meaning.

"It just really is amazing what people can do. The community and all the devastation," Vaughna Schooler said.

Two weeks ago, the Schoolers welcomed baby Brielle into the world. The next day, Vaughna Schooler was evacuated from Feather River Hospital.

"You could see flames coming up the canyon on the back side of the hospital. OK, there’s something serious going on here," she recalled.

While a deputy evacuated Vaughna Schooler and her baby, her husband and their 4-year-old son, Lucas, were trying desperately to drive out of Paradise.

"At one point you start thinking like, 'OK, am I going to die or is my family going to die?'" Maxx Schooler said.

Nearly out of the flames, Maxx Schooler said his car, which was heating up and already full of smoke, stopped working.

"At that point, he started freaking out, wanting his mom," he said of his young son.

Maxx Schooler couldn't explain what happened but when all hope seemed lost his car started to work again. They made it out and, eventually, the family was reunited.

As they prepared to host around 10 people for Thanksgiving in a temporary home, the young family was counting their blessings.

"I’m thankful I get to be here with my family," Maxx Schooler said.

On top of the fact that they’re all together, they also received several donations, including many clothes, toys and other items. They will be sending most of it back to other victims and charitable organizations.

"I keep seeing it everywhere but it really is, you know, Butte strong," Vaughna Schooler said. "So, we’re thankful."

They may not have a home in Paradise left but they have a house full of reasons to be thankful.

Maxx Schooler said he has a few friends who no one has heard from yet. He fears the worst for them.

A GoFundMe page has been set up if you would like to help the Schoolers.