Friendship forged in donations to family

ASHLAND, Ore. — Two people adopted a local family who lost their home in the Almeda Fire.

“It shouldn’t really have to be a disaster that causes us to come forward and help,” Iman Pirasteh, said.

Pirasteh has been in Ashland for three decades and said it was difficult for him to see how much destruction the Almeda Fire caused.

“I didn’t know what to think or believe at first, but I knew with the level of devastation that was happening, our community really needed to come together and support one another,” he said.

A friendship forged in 2010 re-ignited between Pirasteh and Jenica Villamor as they both wanted to help but weren’t sure exactly how.

Villamor currently lives in Vancouver, Washington, but lived in Medford while working in journalism between 2010 and 2012.

Pirasteh was one of the first people she met.

They connected via a mutual friend which is where the spark of charity ignited into action.

They found the Arevalo family and raised over $5,000 to provide things like gift cards, clothing and diapers which they were able to deliver in person.

“It was very touching to actually finally meet them and be able to give them a little bit of hope in this hard time,” Pirasteh said.

“We got out of the cars, ran towards each other and we all just started hugging,” Villamor said. “There’s nothing that can describe how powerful that moment was. It was just really freaking beautiful,” she added.

As some people give money and others give of their time, Villamor and Pirasteh said everyone can do something where, together, the community’s strength is in each other.

“I’m inspired and touched with how many good people there are right now,” Villamor said. “I’m doing this because I want to encourage other people to step up and help families. If I can do it, you can do it,” she added.

If you’d like to help by making a donation, maybe even adopt a family, check out this website.

This is the direct gofundme link for the Arevalo family.

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NBC5 News reporter/weather forecaster Aaron Nilsson is a Southern California native, but most recently lived in Seattle. He's also lived in Sweden and Utah. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Scandinavian Studies. While at BYU, he covered sports for BYUtv. Aaron is not new to the Medford/Klamath Falls market. He was a local TV journalist from 2013-2017. Outside the station, Aaron enjoys music, traveling, sports, movies, and cooking. His favorite sport is soccer.
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