‘All I could do is cry’; Malden woman left with nothing works to pick up the pieces

SPOKANE, Wash. — Thousands of people along the west coast have been evacuated from their homes. They watched their belongings and livelihoods burn to ash.

Thursday, 4 News Now and other ABC stations are taking part in the Day of Giving. We’re helping raise money for the American Red Cross.

READ: Join 4 News Now and ABC stations in a day of giving for victims of western wildfires

From the moment these fires sparked, the red cross has been there to help. As of 6 p.m. Thursday, the Day of Giving fundraiser has received more than $400,000 for the American Red Cross. That money goes directly to wildfire victims here in Washington, along with California and Oregon.

Not being able to spend the night in your own bed is one thing, knowing you’ll never see your home again is another. That’s what one woman from Malden is going through right now. She’s trying to keep it all together for herself and her community.

“The outpouring of everybody, you know. It’s just – there’s no words to explain,” said Lori Dickinson, a Malden resident.

There’s not much left of Dickinson’s property in Malden after last week’s violent wildfire. Just ash and rubble on her lot.

“I lost my husband’s flag,” Dickinson said. “He was a vet. Everything else can be replaced, but his flag can’t, so that is my major deal right now. That upsets me the worst.”

Her husband, Eugene, passed away almost five years ago. He served in Vietnam, and seeing his flag when she walked through her front door always made her smile.

“Everything can be rebuilt and stuff,” Dickinson said. “I mean, it’s not an instant rebuild. But that’s the worst thing – that upsets me the worst.”

Dickinson wasn’t home when the wildfire sparked. Someone texted her to let her know what happened.

“All I could do is cry,” Dickinson said. “The first thing I asked was, how is Granny and my people?”

She and her elderly mother are staying at American Red Cross emergency shelter in downtown Spokane.

“They provide meals, they got us laundry service yesterday,” Dickinson said. “Even if you just need to talk to someone, they will work hard to help you.”

American Red Cross is providing wildfire victims everything they need to help get back on their feet before they rebuild their town. According to Dickinson, who is also a Malden City Council member, they have every intention to rebuild their city.

“We’re staying,” Dickinson said. “We are going to get that town back up. We are going to become a community again.”

She said the Day of Giving gives her hope.

“Oh, I’m just so happy,” Dickinson said. “I would do that in a minute. If somebody needed help, I would be there to help them too. Oh my gosh, that is just astronomical. The people are so special.”