Phoenix High School student helps family rebuild home after Almeda Fire

PHOENIX, Ore. – After losing his home in the Almeda Fire one local high schooler stepped up to help his family. A Phoenix High School student made a tough sacrifice after losing his home to the Almeda Fire. But now he’s back playing ball with his teammates, as he moves into his new home.

Sixteen-year-old Adan Mendez has been playing basketball since middle school. But then the Almeda Fire hit.

“The day we actually found out [that] our house burned down to the ground, it was a really, really hard time,” said Mendez.

Mendez had to make a tough call.

“I knew I had to take a break from sports and friends and focus more on the house,” said Mendez.

He offered to help his parents rebuild their Phoenix home. Mendez told NBC5 News it took up most of his time. He went after school and also gave up his weekends rebuilding the home. Often spending 12 hours on the project. But 9 months later he says it’s all worth it.

“It’s really really breathtaking coming down the stairs every day and seeing what we’ve done,” said Mendez.

Now his biggest dilemma is how to decorate his new room. And after taking a year off basketball, he’s back in the game.

“Adan who has done a magnificent job overcoming adversity, but also making sacrifices to put his sport second and to be there for his family,” said Coach Patrick Shed.

Coach Shed isn’t the only one who is excited to see Mendez back on the team. His teammates said they’ve missed him a lot.

“It was just overall a bummer cause he’s been playing with me for a long time. Then he’s just gone all of the sudden. But I’m glad he’s back this year,” said Julius Boldstad, one of Mendez’s teammates.

While he’s happy to be back on his home court, he will never forget what he once took for granted.

“It really changed my mindset every time I get to sleep in a nice comfy bed,” said Mendez.

Mendez told NBC5 News this project makes him want to go into commercial construction when he’s older. But for now, he focused on graduating.

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Katie Streit
NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university's political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster's Foundation. Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]
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