Ladies, gentlemen, friends, family, and new acquaintances. It has been a great experience being able to interact with each and everyone one of you in the past three weeks. I never anticipated being involved the way I was with the Wallow Fire. I cannot say I had any major part in the fire as the individuals that truly need your support, encouragement, and love are still containing the fire as I type this from my air conditioned office. Thank you for making http://wallow.us something special and informational to all those seeking information during this experience and hardship for some. You truly have helped me understand how much this little valley and surrounding area meaning to so many people.
Through out this experience in the last few weeks I’ve had a common idea stick into my mind. The idea of “community”. It was the only way that I could properly describe what I was thinking and feeling. Once things began to settle down I was asked to speak on what I had experienced through the Dance Festival and the Wallow Fire. I have filled in many of the gaps from where I spoke, this was originally only an outline. I hope that it has some semblance of meaning.
Definition of COMMUNITY
1 a unified body of individuals: as
a : state, commonwealth
b : the people with common interests living in a particular area; broadly : the area itself <the problems of a large community>
c : an interacting population of various kinds of individuals (as species) in a common location
d : a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society <a community of retired persons>
e : a group linked by a common policy
f : a body of persons or nations having a common history or common social, economic, and political interests <the international community>
g : a body of persons of common and especially professional interests scattered through a larger society <the academic community>
2 society at large
3 joint ownership or participation <community of goods>
b : common character : likeness <community of interests>
c : social activity : fellowship
d : a social state or condition
These communities that we live and participate in shape who we are. We are part of many communities in our lives. We belong to the Round Valley community, the Denver Broncos community, or any other group where we share common policy, belief, or desire.
William S. Evans | June 1990 Ensign | News of the Church
Q: Why is it so important that Latter-day Saints be involved in their communities?
A: Lives are blessed when Latter-day Saints are involved in their communities. The Savior is our best role model in showing how this is done. Jesus gave freely and frequently to those outside “the household of faith.” He extended his personal caring to the despised, the outcast, and the nonbeliever.
The First Presidency has encouraged us as citizens to involve ourselves in solving problems that face our communities, even if these problems are particularly challenging. They have likewise encouraged us to join with others not of our faith in solving problems that call for cooperative action.
Latter-day Saints can be extraordinarily effective at solving problems, but too often their efforts have been directed solely toward Church members. As members “let their lights shine” (see Matt. 5:16) more brightly through thoughtful community involvement, more people will come to see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.
We all are given a field to harvest, our own little portion of the world’s community. Whether it is a bishop serving his ward, a missionary laboring in various communities in his mission, or any one of you performing your particular calling, home or visiting teaching, or any kind of service.
– Smoke and Air Quality potentially affecting spirits and emotions as well as physical health of those participating.
– A fast for all those participating to allow everything to run appropriately, the fire to be contained, and for everyone to be healthy despite the environmental conditions.
– Faith of parents for allowing their children to continue to participate despite the danger.
– Faith of the participants for being part of such an amazing experience in spite of obstacles.
– Sgt. Stein – US Marine Meteorologist who provided valuable forecasting data to all those who read. He provided much peace of mind and straightforward answers to those who needed to know.
– Ed & Laurie – Overlaid the IR mosaic data with Google Maps to provide graphical representation of actual fire lines. This also provided much needed peace of mind and information to those seeking answers.
– Random People and Companies wanting to help in any way possible.
– Comments section of the website helping each other to find answers to questions when I couldn’t read the emails fast enough. Those people in the comments section provided me with sanity when the site’s traffic overtook my personal ability and time to manage all incoming requests.
– Between June 6th and June 26th, 2011 http://wallow.us received 242,557 page views by 121,689 different visitors in 71 countries on 6 different continents.
We should each strive to utilize the talents that we have been given. The scriptures teach us not to hide away the talents that we have been given. Christ teaches in the book of Matthew that those willing to use the talents given to them will be told
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
When we use our talents in a way that is pleasing in the Lord’s eyes he will bless us with more talents to use. This cyclical process can enrich our lives with abilities and talents, enabling us to be more precise and powerful tools in the hands of the Lord.
I leave you with these thoughts, as well as an updated Progression Map of the fire. I will make available any information that might come forward in the near future as Area Command Team 4 works to complete the containment of the Wallow Fire. I encourage you to follow them on Twitter (@AreaComTeam4), they have been providing great information in the few days they have been in charge. I can only hope to learn and grow from this experience, and as I return to my life I encourage you to do the same. I only hope that we are able to learn many things from this experience, and make proper modifications to our own lives and communities that will benefit everyone.