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Hector and Brandy Fernandez and their four children barely escaped a fast-moving fire and resultant explosion with just the clothes on their backs. Next door, Steve and Maria Alvarez and their three children also ran from the inferno, only saving their lives as well on that very hot August 28. Redding Fire Department investigator Dean Herzberg soon confirmed that the blaze at 1165 LeBrun Lane in Redding began in bark dust that was part of the landscaping next to the back wall of the duplex.
The news reports faded, but that wasn’t the end of the story.
Enter Mark and Liz Williams, who are respectively the General Manager and Accounting Manager at Metals Direct, located at 6771 Eastside Road in Redding. Metals Direct locally manufactures solid structures that protect vehicles, property and belongings. Coincidentally, that’s also where Hector Fernandez works. The Williams’ are not strangers to helping those in need of other forms of protection – many of whom are complete strangers.
As an outreach of their business, Liz and Mark Williams have been active in facilitating help for the homeless and supporting other community-enriching events for years. “We really like to give back to our community,” said Mark Williams. “Anytime we have gone out to feed the homeless or help some other cause, there’s Hector Fernandez. He’s always ready to help someone else in need. He’s a great father, family member and has never missed a day of work – that I can think of – in the two or three years that he’s worked for us in our manufacturing department.” Mark’s wife Liz Williams quickly followed up, “Hector always helped us feed the homeless and now this happens to him and his family. It’s just awful. Now he’s in need and we are there for him.”
Mark and Liz Williams wanted to set up set up a donation account for their beloved worker, Hector Fernandez, and his family. Mark said, “Hector was grateful for our offer to help him get back on his feet, but he said his good neighbors, the Alvarez family, were in as much need as his family. Then he asked if we could set up an account that could be split between the two families. Now, that’s a really good neighbor, and that’s the way Hector is, always thinking about others.”
Before Hector Fernandez and his family became homeless, Mark and Liz Williams never thought about having to give to one of their employees. “He’s one of us, and we didn’t know what to do at first. So we just donated $500 to start an account to help him (Hector) out and get others to pitch in. And it was Hector who wanted to share any funds that came in with his neighbors, the Alvarez family,” Mark said.
The Williams’ indicated the local Red Cross chapter helped both families find emergency food and shelter, and that both families are now staying with friends and relatives until they can afford relocation costs and furnishings while keeping their children safe and in school.
The Williams’ encouraged “anyone who wants to contribute to the fund we started to go to any North Valley Bank branch and donate to the ‘Fernandez and Alvarez Families Fund.'”
For donations of food, clothing, household supplies, toys and books for the children, please feel free to drop off during normal business hours at Metals Direct, 6771 Eastside Road (at the corner of Waverly Avenue and Eastside Road in south Redding, near Girvan Road). The families’ needs are as follows:
Alexis, 9-year-old girl, size 7-8 clothes, size 3 shoes
Anthony, 4-year-old boy, size 4 clothes, size 4 shoes
Jacob, 1-year-old boy, size 18 months, size 4 shoes
Mom, Maria, 5 to 6 size clothes, size 5 shoes
Dad, Steve, size 38-40 bottoms, large tops, size 10 shoes
Alfonso, 8-year-old boy, size 8-10 clothes, size 3-4 shoes
Ciara, 7-year-old girl, size 6-7 clothes, size 13 shoes
Ariana, 6-year-old girl, 6-7 clothes, size 12 shoes
Lillyana, 4-year-old girl, size 4-5 clothes, size 12 shoes
Mom, size 5 bottoms, medium top, size 7 shoes
Dad, Hector, size 38-40 bottoms, large tops, size 10 shoes
Alan Ernesto Phillips is a proud son of Shasta County, a proud father of two daughters, and a local musician. He is a parenting educator, chemical-dependency counselor, victim-awareness counselor and developmental-asset builder and trainer. He also is a Clio and Telly award-winning filmmaker who produced and directed political campaigns for congressmen, senators, governors and one president (Ronald Reagan). His clients also included Coca-Cola, NIKE, CBS News and NOVA documentaries. He is a current board member and public affairs officer for the Northern California Hispanic Latino Coalition.
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