Warren Hedden's two daughters were both burned out of their homes in the same year and it prompted him to do something. Now, five years later, he's climbed the volunteer ladder at After the Fire, a non-profit organization that helps fire victims with basic necessities and helps put their lives back together. But Hedden and his wife, who live in Clifton Park, are the only volunteers available to directly respond to fires in southern Saratoga County, so the organization is constantly looking for more.
One way it hopes to attract volunteers and spread awareness about its mission is by participating in Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library's first volunteer fair on Sunday, April 18.
We have about 11 active volunteers and there is always room for more. Some are very new so it'll be awhile before they can have a pager and have been to a few fire scenes. There's many different facets where people can help out, like we have someone that fields voicemail, others work as correspondence and some respond to fires, said Hedden.
After the Fire only services Saratoga County and relies on donations and fundraisers to remain afloat. Hedden said he hopes the fair will alert people to the organization's work, which he views as imperative and part of the community's duty.
"We're just average people who donate our time and talents to help fire victims through a difficult time; assure them they're not alone and we'll be there as long as needed," said Hedden.
The organization provides emotional support, information, referral resources, a care package with toiletries, donated clothing and even one night of free lodging at an area hotel. After a few weeks or months, volunteers check back in with the victims to see how they're doing, help them find furniture or offer information about important things that sometimes slip their minds in a stressful situation, like insurance.