This Thanksgiving season is plagued with suffering and devastation rarely seen in Northern California. Thousands are homeless, nearly a thousand are still missing, the result of the Camp Fire inferno. As the smoke continues to billow from the relentless fires, our region of the country has been awarded the worst air quality in the world. Many are walking around with their smoke masks, in a bit of a daze, wondering, what on earth is there to be thankful for?
What we have to be thankful are people like Allyn Pierce. When he arrived to work (as an ICU Nurse Manager) at Adventist Health Feather River hospital, in Paradise, on November 8, he soon discovered like everyone else that fire was closing in from all sides. Pierce sprung into action, shuttling patients and co-workers from the hospital to the edge of town, driving them through walls of flames. When he arrived safely, he returned a second time to rescue more patients and co-workers, risking his life in the process.
“I was calm because I’m a nurse, and that’s what we do,” Pierce told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “But I was terrified. … I really did think I was going to die." As he traveled through the flames, he sent his family a text in case he did not make it out. But he did!
And that’s when Toyota officials took notice and sent him this Instagram message: “We are humbled you’d risk your life and Toyota Tundra to drive people to safety. Don’t worry about your truck, we’re honored to get you a new one!”
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13.
The heroism of Pierce reminds me of someone else who risked their life for you and me. This Thanksgiving, as we reflect upon all that we have to be thankful for, despite the loss of life, property and clear air, may we bring our thoughts back to the One who risked everything for you and me on Calvary. And let's be willing to share the love of Jesus with those in our path and give them a reason to be thankful.