California Educator

October 2015

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Page 57 of 63

T H E VA L L E Y F I R E , along with other destructive wildfires this year, disrupted the lives of thousands, including students, educators and their families. While the process of healing and rebuilding has begun, the disasters have highlighted the strength of our members and various CTA assistance programs that can help. "Most everyone got out with just their clothes," says Dan Renninger, president of the Middletown Teachers Association (MTA), of the Valley Fire, which tore through southern Lake County in September, destroying every- thing in its path. Renninger was concerned about his family and community, of course, but also worried about his chapter members. "I sent my wife to Sacramento," he says. "I stayed in the Kelseyville evacuation center. I'm close to all our teachers. Many of them helped me and my family over the years, so I wanted to be there for them." Of 77 MTA members, 32 lost their homes. Renninger stayed at the center for eight nights. He got access to a classroom at Kelseyville High School, where he set up a database that initially kept track of MTA members and their needs, but grew to be a resource for the Middletown Unified School District and incorporate more than 150 district employees. He is quick to credit CTA Board member Jerry Eaton, CTA's Regional UniServ staff George Young HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT CTA offers assistance after fires, other disasters By Katharine Fong Lucerne in Lake County shows its support during the Valley Fire. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Frank Schulenburg Near and far right: Devastation from the Valley Fire. Credit: California Casualty 56 CTA & You

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