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Potter Valley Family Moves Back Home

Friday, November 15, 2019

Recently, North Coast Opportunities, (NCO) joined its Mendocino County partners in the home dedication of another Hope City volunteer-rebuilt home that had been lost to the Redwood Complex Fire of 2017. The completion of this new home, owned by Sharon and Randy Freeman, of Potter Valley, demonstrates the commitment of the collaborative called Mendocino-ROC (Mendocino-Rebuilding Our Community: M-ROC) with The Community Foundation of Mendocino County, NCO, and The County of Mendocino, to help local residents return home.  

Sharon Freeman fled her home on that windy October 2017 night with only her pajamas, her dog and her car (her husband, Randy was not at home). She didn’t know if she would ever again see her home of the past 40 years. After reaching safety, the Freeman’s were immediately swept up into the arms of their family and friends, who came together to raise funds for them in the wake of the fire. At the recent home dedication ceremony, Sharon Freeman explained how the events of that night have now come full circle, “I didn’t know that the worst night of my life would someday bring so many wonderful people into my growing family who rebuilt my home with all of their love, I am so thankful”.  

Over the past 2 years, with the help and support of their family and friends, the Freeman’s new home was rebuilt with the help of grants and donations and many organizations who are dedicated to rebuilding our community. The gift of volunteer labor came from AmeriCorps NCCC, UMCOR volunteers, Fannie Mae Serve volunteer builders, local volunteers from Redwood Valley Community Church and volunteer builders from Hope City. MendoLake Complex Fire Relief provided goods and supplies, and M-ROC provided labor funding as well as an anchor from which Mendocino County homes can be rebuilt. 

Building a home requires the knowledge and know-how to navigate a world requiring permits, coordination, materials, supplies etc. Rebuilding a home with volunteers and grant funding adds an extra level of obstacles. NCO’s Disaster Case Management team along with Mendocino-ROC and Hope City collaborated to financially and logistically make rebuilding this home a reality. NCO’s Disaster Case Managers go the extra mile to help complete a rebuild: helping local families sort through needed paperwork, securing permits and funding to fill identified gaps and coordinating with volunteers and contractors. 

Present at the home dedication, NCOs Executive Director, Patty Bruder commented, “Over the past few years, NCO has collaborated with Hope City to help more than 30 families move back into their homes (in both Lake and Mendocino Counties). Each home rebuild presents its own challenges and is a long process from start to finish. Without the tireless assistance of NCOs Disaster Case Managers, the support of M-ROC and Team Lake County, as well as collaborations with home rebuild organizations, these local families would not have a home today. I am thankful to have such successful community partnerships and staff that dedicate themselves to rebuilding our communities”.  

Homes continue to be rebuilt in Lake and Mendocino Counties. Mennonites Disaster Services have recently begun building 5 homes in Mendocino County in partnership with M-ROC. For Mendocino County residents who lost their homes to either the Redwood Complex Fire of 2017 or the Mendocino Complex Fire of 2018, please contact NCOs Disaster Case Management team at (707) 621-8817. Lake County fire survivors can contact Disaster Case Managers at (707) 994-2910. 

NCO provides services in five counties – Del Norte, Humboldt, Napa, Solano and Sonoma – NCO also serves as the Community Action Agency for both Lake and Mendocino Counties. NCO reacts and adjusts to community needs, including disaster response and recovery. 

For more information visit or call (707) 467-3200.