White Swan Fire Victims Waiting for Donation Money
Louetta Lucei follows the same routine every day. She takes care of her three young children, goes to work, and returns to an unfamiliar place to sleep. Her home was one of the 18 houses destroyed in the White Swan fire last month.
Lucei said, "usually I say 'we're ok' but the truth, it's been really hard."
A few of the victims like Lucei have been lucky enough to move out of hotels and into homes being rented by the Yakama Nation. Lucei says the hardest part for her and her children, is getting comfortable.
She said, "because of what we've seen up there, and every time (my kids) see smoke it's traumatizing for them."
To make it easier on the victims, Dairy farmers in the Yakima Valley donated more than $61,000 Monday, making a total of $300,000 raised for the White Swan Fire Relief Fund.
Tribal Chairman Harry Smisken says victims have to go through tribal authorities to make a claim and receive money for things like food, clothes, and bills.
Smisken added, "it's going to help those people rebuild their lives and rebuild their homes, many of these families lost everything."
Many of the victims tell KAPP/KVEW the clothing and food donations have helped them get by, but they're still waiting to receive money from the fund. Two victims said they'll meet with tribal leaders to discuss how the funding will be divided on Wednesday.
As for Louetta Lucei, she hopes the donations will get her back to her life, back to normal, and back into a home of her own in White Swan.
Lucei said, "it's hard to say who's going to build (a new home) right now or if we have to do it on our own. That's pretty much what we're at right now, is we have to do it on our own."
Tribal leaders also announced the federal government is sending 30 mobile home trailers for the fire victims from Kentucky.