butte camp fire

Help Jim Cronin from the Real Estate Tomato After Paradise Fire

Jim Cronin

The Camp Fire in Butte County that wiped out the town of Paradise and still blazing is on everybody’s minds in Sacramento. We can’t help but breathe the smoky air and stare at the hazy orange sun, all the while feeling helpless. One of my friends, JaCi Wallace, mentioned a few days ago that Jim Cronin from the Real Estate Tomato had lost his home in Paradise. She saw it on Facebook. (Facebook is not a place I go very often.) Now, it’s probably been 10 years or more since I’ve talked to Jim Cronin, but his website was one of the first places that accepted a guest post from me, back in the day. Jim had asked me to write an article, so I did.

I figured he must still have his cellphone. Having gone through an evacuee situation when my home fell in the ocean in Ventura, I know all too well the things we cart away with us when in dire straights. We forget to take so many important items, and we often don’t have a lot of time before disaster hits to pack up. Sure enough, Jim responded to my text message in his usual cheerful manner, although I’m sure he was devastated.

That’s the kind of guy Jim Cronin is, though. Even though it’s been a while since we connected, he let me know that he made it out safely. I think he was driving and dictating to text. He said he and his family are trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. According to Jim, he has good insurance but claims are always involved and complicated. His main concern was for the struggling senior citizens and the elderly who made up most of the population in Paradise and now have nowhere to live. So many have died. The numbers will most likely exceed 100 people as more than 1,000 are still unaccounted for.

You know, whenever there is a catastrophe, and there seems to be more horrible events lately due to global warming, it’s hard to know what to do to help. When the lava devoured Leilani Estates on Hawaii Island earlier this year, my husband and I donated to the Hawaii Island Food Bank. We just received a postcard: Mahalo for your kokua. I would have preferred to make a donation directly to a family who lost their home.

So, I got my chance to do exactly that today. There is a GoFundMe page for the Cronin Family Fire Relief Fund where you can help them to reach their goal. They are 2/3rds of the way there, and no donation is too small. At the moment, Jim Cronin and his family are apparently living in a one-room motel room.

Elizabeth Weintraub

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