Sandia National Laboratories employees chipped in to raise $100,000 for people impacted by the devastating forest fires raging throughout the state.
A campaign that launched May 9 raised $75,000 from Sandia employees in a few hours. And National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia, a subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc., that manages and operates the labs, chipped in another $25,000.
“We know that when people in our state are struggling, our staff feel the desire and immediate need to react and pull together,” said Sandia Community Involvement specialist Roberta Rivera.
New Mexico’s fire season has gotten off to a destructive start. The Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire complex in northern New Mexico has become the biggest fire in the country currently and the largest in state history, the McBride Fire in Ruidoso caused two deaths and destroyed more than 200 homes and the Cerro Pelado Fire near Jemez Springs has at times threatened Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The money will be managed by the Albuquerque Community Foundation and the United Way of Central New Mexico, according to a Sandia news release.
“This fundraising campaign is for all fires in New Mexico,” Rivera said. “If more funds are raised than are needed at this time, the extra money will be used throughout the rest of fire season. We know this is not the end.”
Sandia has a large contingent of employees from New Mexico, including several from areas that are being affected by the fires.
Andrew Padilla, a Sandia software systems engineer, has family members in and around Las Vegas. He said everything around his parents’ home is destroyed. Other relatives are living in hotels and campers and some don’t have insurance, so they are having to pay for the stays.
“It has been devastating for my family, having to see generations of memories lost in this fire,” he said. “This is much more than a fire; it’s a culture loss for our state and the communities of San Miguel and Mora counties. We can only hope that one day our children can see the beauty of our mountains and valleys like we did growing up.”