their medications, says Acquistapace. She is trying to get their insurance in-formation and fill their prescriptions, but many lost their health insurance cards and access to money in the fire. Acquistapace has just returned from the pharmacy where she spent almost $600 on one set of prescriptions. Earlier in the week Bialkoski gave her a $500 credit card to help cover prescriptions, now he offers to buy on Oct. 9. But the evacuation order for his neighborhood never came. “We dodged the bullet,” says O’Neill, past president of nearby Cotati Lions Club. On Oct. 18, of the 55 clubs in District 4 C2, District Governor Les Mize estimates that 40 are in fire areas. Many of the fires have yet to be fully contained, so it is too early to know how many Lions in the district have lost homes, livelihoods and possibly purna club to join them. “The fire has broken out in our neighboring district, how can we sleep right there and not do anything?” asks Thapa. Even Mike Bell, who lost his own home, came when several members of his club volunteered to make pancakes. “I can’t have my club out there doing something without me. I have to at least show up,” he says. Bell credits Lion Bernard Diernick with getting a pancake crew together. Bell is busy trying to figure out where he and his family will live during the two years it will take to rebuild their home. They are currently staying with friends. The one thing that keeps him happy is his 18-month-old granddaughter, Lillian. Bell and his wife were sharing their home with Lillian and her parents before the fire hit, and now they are all “sticking together.” Togetherness is one of the things that make Lions so helpful, says Rio Ray, who heads the Salvation Army Santa Rosa Community Center. Instead of having to tell each volunteer what to do, Ray only has to tell the Lion in charge. During times of natural disas-ters he says he depends on volunteers and service organizations like Lions. “If I had to pay for staff to do every-thing around here it would bankrupt not only the Salvation Army in Santa Rosa but the whole Northern Califor-nia Division,” says Ray. “So, really, volunteers are our strongest asset that we have.” Toward the early afternoon the first group of Lions makes way for the second shift. As he leaves, Bialkoski glances at the white board where the Salvation Army staff list what they need. Baby food is at the top. “Yeah, fill up my car with baby food tomor-row, see how it goes,” says Bialkoski. Then he gets back in his SUV and heads to another shelter. Gary Miner, past president of the Crockett club, volunteers at the Salvation Army’s Santa Rosa Corps Community Center. another. The original donation inspired a doctor helping out at the shelter to ask a school in her neighborhood to raise money for the same thing. Thus, by bringing the initial $500 donation, Bialkoski “started something that got us more money,” says Acquistapace. Although Bialkoski is the one who de-livered the funds, it was another Lion who discovered the need. As soon as he heard about the fires, Mike O’Neill went to the various Santa Rosa shelters to find out how he and his wife, Mar-jean, also a Lion, could help. When the couple discovered that drivers were paying for medication out of their own pockets, they asked Bialkoski if the Redwood Foundation could help. Then they went back to finding out what else could be done, which is how O’Neill found himself at the Salvation Army’s Santa Rosa Corps Community Center today helping sort donations. He came close to losing his own home and was packed and ready to evacuate 30 LION // LIONMAGAZINE.ORG even their lives. At present he knows of only the five homeless Santa Rosa Lions, but he is pretty sure there will be more. Just like he is pretty sure more Lions will come forward to help, as they already have. At the Salvation Army Center, Montgomery Village Lions served pancakes in the morn-ing, and Crockett Lions and Berkeley Annapurna Lions, the first Nepalese Lions club of California, are sorting donations. Bill Ridle is one of two Crockett mem-bers who helped get Lions to volunteer. Still wearing the bright yellow Lions apron he thought he would need at the Salvation Army, Ridle watches his fellow Lions push grocery carts loaded with diapers through the large ware-house space. As past 4 C3 district governor, he now helps advise 4 C3 District Governor Rajen Thapa. When Thapa heard what the Crockett club was doing, he got several members of his Berkeley Anna-Nearly a century ago, Lions in California helped care for thousands left homeless by an epic fire. An odd coincidence, seen from the perspective of the present, on the same page the LION detailed a project, unrelated to the fire, to help girls in Santa Rosa . Read the two stories in the October 1923 LION.