Ed Fortner

Paradise, California and Berea, Kentucky are 2,363 miles apart but the ongoing wildfire tragedy has shortened the distance between the two communities. Former Berea City Utilities Director Ed Fortner, who was also one of the Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency’s original board members and the former Vice President of Kentucky Municipal Utilities Association, recently took the position of District Manager for Paradise (CA) Irrigation District. The PID delivers water to approximately 10,500 municipal and residential/commercial customers.

On November 8th, the City of Paradise was struck by what is now believed to be the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. Ed, his wife Rachel, and their dog escaped the fire to safety but his new house burned to the ground with everything in it.

The population of Paradise is 26,000 people. To put it in perspective, that is equivalent to the entire city of Madisonville or Frankfort being wiped out.

Chris and Nancy Brown embrace while searching through the remains of their home, leveled by the Camp Fire, in Paradise, Calif., on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. As the fire approached, Nancy Brown escaped from the home with her 2-year-old and three dogs. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

In the spirit of friends helping friends, the KYMEA Board of Directors and management team have joined with the Kentucky Municipal Utilities Association to make a donation to the disaster relief efforts and encourage you to show support to the people of Paradise. Below are links for verified support charities.

Donate through the American Red Cross. Red Cross volunteers and staff work to deliver vital services – from providing relief and support to those in crisis, to helping you be prepared to respond in emergencies.

Donate through the California Fire Foundation. The California Fire Foundation, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization, provides emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters, firefighters and the communities they protect.

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