AHWAHNEE – Mountain area women are invited to raise a glass and share dinner, stories and resources at this month’s meeting of Helping One Woman (HOW), at the Hitching Post, on Wednesday, Apr. 17, at 6 p.m.
HOW is a nonprofit woman’s organization that meets monthly for an uplifting evening in honor of one deserving woman who receives the community’s support in a time of need or loss.Pam Payne, 53, is the HOW guest of honor this month. Pam and her husband Steve lost all their possessions nearly four weeks ago when a fire burned their mountain home to the ground on Mar. 18.
“We lost everything,” says Payne. “It happened between 10 and 10:30 in the morning and I was standing in my kitchen. I heard a funny crackling noise outside and I looked out my sliding glass door and saw the flames coming out of my screened in porch area.”
The house and everything in it was destroyed in the fire.
“We’re in the process right now of trying to recall things we had and we had so much stuff that we probably will never be able to recall. Right now we are living in a 40′ travel trailer on our property, and we will be here for 9 months to a year at least. We are hoping to rebuild.”
Payne suffered 2nd degree burns on her hands and face when she tried desperately to rescue her cats. The beloved pets were lost to the fire, but Pam says she’s doing well, physically.
“My burns are healing wonderfully. I do have some red blotches and you can see that something happened, but I’m not going to have any scars.”
The former Mountain House owner is able to muster up a little bit of humor about her “new” hair-do.
“I am doing the Donald Trump comb-over, covering over the part that’s burnt. And it will grow back, it’s just going to take a long time.”
As Pam and family put their lives back together, she offers advice to anyone who’ll take it.
“Any important documents and pictures, put them in a safe deposit box or keep them outside of the home, because those things are things that can never be replaced. Just think about the things that are really important to you and if you can keep them somewhere else in case something like this happens, I would recommend that.”
Despite the turn of fate that left the Paynes without a home, furnishings, clothing or precious irreplaceable possessions, the family remains fairly upbeat.
“We are doing quite well thanks to everyone in this community,” Payne reports. “I’m not good at wording this, because ‘thank you’ just doesn’t seem to be enough to this whole mountain community. My husband and I have never in our entire life felt so loved and so cared for. In the midst of this darkness there have been so many blessings.”
To attend the HOW dinner in support of Pam Payne, call the Hitching Post directly for reservations. Each guest donates $10, and after dinner the pooled money is gifted to the honoree. Another woman is then chosen, from written suggestions of the guests, for the next month’s dinner.
For more information visit HOW Oakhurst on FaceBook.