North Fork family remembers fallen firefighter's compassion
NORTH FORK, Calif. (FOX26) —
Scars of a wildfire surround Lynn Bawdon’s home in North Fork.
The deck is still being patched up.
Manzanita trees down the hillside are black.
Her deck is still being patched up.
“The firefighters cut it away and dumped water on it,” she says.
Bawdon and her husband Howard survived the Mission Fire in September.
Some pebbles in her driveway still have fire retardant.
There are some pink spots on the family’s ’55 Chevy Bel Air, named “Blue.”
“The ’55 is a family project car. The children worked with [Howard], stripped it down, cleaned it up,” says Lynn Bawdon.
When evacuations were ordered, Lynn Bawdon was in charge of gathering the important family documents.
Howard Bawdon looked after blue until deputies said it was time to go.
"All four of our children rode off into the sunset in that car after they got married. It has a lot of sentimental value,” she says.
Pictures online showed the home and car were still standing.
But Blue was now pink.
A week later, the Bawdons saw it in person.
Firefighters were outside the couple’s home.
"My husband was visibly upset,” Lynn Bawdon says.
“This young, big firefighter gave him a hug and said, 'What can we do?' They had already saved our home, they saved our car, and he wanted to know what else they could do."
That firefighter: Cory Iverson from San Diego.
"They say 'you're not going to wash this car. We're gonna wash it for you,” Lynn Bawdon said. “Cory spent that time with Howard talking about his 55, rebuilding it, children being raised around it."
Lynn Bawdon says her husband suffers from PTSD and has problems with his short-term memory.
But the moments the couple shared with Iverson are still fresh in their minds.
When they heard a San Diego firefighter died battling the Thomas Fire, they feared it was Iverson.
Monday, they got confirmation.
"First responders fight fires, put their lives in danger. But they have a heart that's bigger than they think. And that was Cory," Lynn Bawdon says.
Now, the Bel Air isn’t the only thing that’s blue.
"God just needed an extra firefighter in heaven, that's all," Lynn Bawdon says.