Paradise Is Not Lost

California’s catastrophic Camp Fire in November burned more than 150,000 acres, killing 86 people and destroying close to 20,000 structures. Thousands of people fled for their lives.

It was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history.

But one thing remains unable to be destroyed by flames. That’s hope, hope that altered lives can slowly be healed, homes can be rebuilt, and a devastated community can be restored.

The Lions of California Grass Valley Gold Country, about 80 miles south of the fire range, wanted to share in that dream. They designed a calendar to show what can be again.

“There is always hope that will rise from the ashes,” says Club President Tom Parilo.

Their “Paradise is Not Lost” calendar fosters that hope, month by month, and through the sale of it the Lions have earned US$11,500 to support the displaced families and businesses that are victims of the fire.

While the cover features dramatic images of the fire, a cleanup crew, and burning structures, the inside pages of the calendar reinforce the joy that has historically been a part of living in Paradise and the neighboring foothill towns of Butte County.

Lions worked with a photographer and the local newspaper to access archived photos of happier days including the winter ice rink, Paradise Gold Nugget Day, and swimming at Paradise Lake in Magalia.

Lion Ken Eslik, the project chair, says their work became a community effort with support from about 30 merchants, 12 Lions clubs, two newspapers, the local radio station, and a school.

“We wanted to do our part to help survivors recover, and this was just our little way of trying to help,” says Eslik. “It’s truly a community effort, and it’s a reflection of the giving hearts of those we live among.”