How the Brian Head Fire in Utah Inspired Awards at a 5k Race

How the Brian Head Fire in Utah Inspired Awards at a 5k Race

Last week, volunteer Bret Howser carried out a 5k and 1 mile walk in O.U.R.’s name in Brian Head, Utah. Howser and his wife have supported O.U.R. for a long time and we are grateful for their efforts in putting on this race. Not only did they organize the race, but they hand made the medals for the winners. Brian Head endured one of the largest fires of the year in the U.S. earlier this summer, so Howser made a great tribute to the city by using the wood from a scorched Aspen tree to make the medals.

Howser cut one of the scorched trees from the fire into disks and put the O.U.R. logo on it in gold, silver and bronze, and lacquered it for the winners of the race.

Howser shared his experience with us:

“Before presenting the medals I talked about when I was standing in Brian Head earlier this summer watching the wildfire come racing toward our town. As the fire crested the ridge on the Northeast border of town, I experienced a feeling of severe helplessness. I thought for sure our town was gone. Then all of a sudden, this enormous plane came out of nowhere over the ridge and doused a large area with flame retardant, and all at once hope was restored. In the fight against human trafficking it’s hard not to feel helpless, whether you’re a victim or somebody trying to fight it. The problem can seem like a giant wildfire that’s impossible to fight. But OUR is like that giant plane coming over the ridge giving us hope.

The medals were made from scorched Aspen that I pulled from the burn area. When you look at the thousands of burned acres, there are pockets of green that are mostly made of Aspen that survived the fire. Aspen has a high water content that makes it particularly resilient to fire, and a strong interconnected root system that helps it to be among the first foliage to recover. It’s symbolic of the resilience of both those who are fighting to free slaves as well as the victims of trafficking, to whom we say ‘Hang in there! We know you’re there, we love you, and we’re coming to get you.'”

O.U.R.’s VP of Finance, Tevya Ware at the race

Thank you to our wonderful volunteers who dedicate so much time to spreading O.U.R.’s cause. We are grateful for stories like this that help us see the hope in difficult situations!


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