Jon Moore was driving back from a wedding just after midnight. Suddenly, he saw an eerie orange glow up ahead. Then, in another direction, another orange glow. Two wildfires were racing toward his Santa Rosa, California neighborhood.
Moments later, Jon and his wife loaded their dog into their RV and joined a caravan of 100,000 people fleeing the fast-approaching flames.
To avoid panic, he turned his thoughts to how he might help others. "I thought, if my house is burning right now, there's nothing I can do. There's National Guard and police, they won't let me back to my house, so I just have to deal with the fact that my house is probably going to be burned up and get my mind off my own stuff and help other people."
Giving back to those who helped him
Growing up, Jon's mother struggled to support 4 kids. The Salvation Army provided oatmeal for breakfast and "experienced" clothes for school. He was also drawn to the Salvation Army because it supports first responders. Several members of Jon's family are fire fighters or police officers.
At the time of the wildfire that killed 44 and destroyed 8,889 homes last October, he was chair of the local Salvation Army advisory board.
He drove to the community center that first morning of the fire. About 500 fire victims had already taken shelter there. With no experience feeding that many people, he knew he could apply skills he had learned as a sales operations manager in AT&T Business – skills like leadership, organization and project management.