Skip to comments.Strangers Help Two Oroville Dam evacuees Keep Their Valentine’s Day Wedding Plans
Posted on 02/15/2017 9:47:46 PM PST by nickcarraway
A couple displaced by the Oroville Dam evacuations almost had their Valentines Day wedding plans canceled -- were it not for a number of fellow evacuees and Placer County workers who helped put on an impromptu wedding at the evacuation center.
Henry Rueda and now-wife Leotta's marriage was 10 years in the making, but Sunday they were forced to evacuate their Olivehurst, California, home for the Placer County Fairgrounds, with about 300 other displaced residents.
Authorities ordered people to leave the area when a hole developed in an eroded area of the spillway, raising concerns that the spillway could fail and flood communities downstream.
Henry told KTXL they chose Valentine's Day for the wedding because Leotta thought it was a special date.
I was just going to have a small little wedding for me and her, a couple of our friends," Henry said. "The Oroville Dam, that destroyed our Valentine's Day."
Their big day was ruined -- or so they thought. With a single Facebook post, Henry and Leotta's wedding was back on.
"We reached out to the community," said Chris Gray-Garcia, Placer Countys public information officer. "They've been fantastic in responding with any donations they could possibly ask for. We thought they'd be happy to help in this case and they sure did.
Evacuees themselves became makeshift wedding planners. One by one, donations poured in to the evacuation center. A tuxedo and dress, food and drink, flowers, even a hotel room and a limo all donated.
"I've never been in a limo, Henry said. "A limousine waiting for me to take me to the hotel is like wow."
The wedding was complete with a band playing, flower arrangements, glasses ready to toast and guests straining to see the bride as she walked down the aisle. One might never have guessed all of them were strangers to each other just a few hours before.
Of course, despite all they've been through, one wedding staple this couple was never without was love.
"I know we had our ups and downs, but I will always love you, Leotta said through teary eyes to her husband on the makeshift altar.
I have to admit, I am seriously grateful to the residents of Nevada County 30 miles east of where I live who opened their fairgrounds to evacuees, both displaced residents and their pets.
The organizers, in conjunction with the fairgrounds, would post on Facebook what their needs were, and within an hour, those needs were met with overwhelming generosity. On the thirteenth, a local elementary visited and delivered hand made valentines and helped kids make their own mailboxes for other valentines, and a middle school showed up on Valentine’s Day and brought small gifts for all the evacuees.
Sometimes it was overwhelming. The call went out for blankets and the Red Cross was buried in them within 45 minutes. Larger kennels were needed for small animals, and within an hour stacks of them were delivered. (as well as enough pet food to start a pet store.)
And this was apparently repeated throughout the northern counties.
So does it surprise me that a wedding was arranged? Not in the slightest. It would have surprised me if it wasn’t arranged.
They all sound like a fine group of loving, caring people making the best of a bad situation, good for them, all of them, the displaced people, the residents of Placer County and everyone who pitched in on short notice. What a memorable Valentine’s Day wedding, and to think that it almost wasn’t to be.
By the way, I don’t know how ads are placed prior to the video on the KFOR site, whether anyone else would have seen the same ad I saw, but I got an excellent one, I know nothing about this company but they’re producing socks to raise money for cancer patients. Made in USA, three designs currently. If anyone else is interested, here’s the web address:
“On the thirteenth, a local elementary visited and delivered hand made valentines...”
I read where in some Minneapolis grade-school they didn’t allow valentines so as to be sensitive to the muslims.
I was just telling my kids that this sort of small-town community helping each other out is what we had before relying on big government to do it. Which goes hand-in-hand with the U.N. Agenda 21 to get everybody to live in big cities so we will want even more big government.
What a wedding to remember - for ALL of those involved!
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