News

Emerald Hills resident powers the community

A charging station on the Whitehill’s porch in Emerald Hills on June 23, 2022. Photo by Cameron Rebosio.

After evacuation orders for the Edgewood Fire were lifted, some residents' problems weren't over, as they returned home to power outages. Emerald Hills resident George Whitehill and his family decided to assist the community where they could, in the form of electrical power.

Whitehill, who powers his home with a generator during outages, ran an extension cord to a surge protector placed on a table on his front porch, where he invited neighbors to charge their devices during the day and a half that Emerald Hills was without power.

"I thought it would be a great way to help the neighbors and it also turned out to be a great way to get to know my neighbors even better," Whitehill said. "I had people that I had never really talked to before come over and while their phone was charging we would be talking about the fire and the power outage."

Whitehill purchased a generator for his home after his family lost $400 worth of food in a power outage. Deciding to share the benefits, he began setting up this neighborhood charging station when PG&E was running planned power outages throughout the community and many neighbors were without electricity.

"Sometimes when the power is out like this, the only thing you really have these days is your phone," Whitehill said. "If you get low on battery or run out, then you have nothing."

Help sustain the local news you depend on.

Your contribution matters. Become a member today.

Join

Rich Goldberg used the station to charge his phone when power was out at his home. He called Whitehill's charging station an "oasis" for those who were completely in the dark, especially as residents tensely waited for updates on the fire.

"With no power and no internet, your phone is really the only connection to the outside world," Rich said. "We could find out what was happening and monitor whether or not we had to evacuate — that was crucial."

One neighbor, Lori Bedford, used the power from the generator to blow dry her hair as she prepped for her first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

"George was kind enough to string an extension cord so I took my dryer and my mirror over in the morning and did my hair in his backyard," Bedford said. "(It was) kind of a lifesaver for us."

Whitehill also provided ice to neighbors and offered up room in his refrigerator for those worried about food spoiling.

"I really take for granted sometimes our home and family and pets and all our possessions and you just think it's a given that they're always going to be there," Whitehill said. "It was just very scary to think that all of that could've gone away just because of the wind direction or because of an accident. (The fire) has given me a renewed appreciation and gratitude for everything I have."

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Looking for more Redwood City stories? The RWC Pulse will be your new source of vital news and information. Sign up to be among the first to get our daily local news headlines sent to your inbox for free.

Cameron Rebosio
 
Cameron Rebosio joined the Almanac in 2022 as the Menlo Park reporter. She previously wrote for the Daily Californian and the Palo Alto Weekly. Read more >>

Follow AlmanacNews.com and The Almanac on Twitter @almanacnews, Facebook and on Instagram @almanacnews for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Emerald Hills resident powers the community

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Wed, Jun 29, 2022, 11:28 am

After evacuation orders for the Edgewood Fire were lifted, some residents' problems weren't over, as they returned home to power outages. Emerald Hills resident George Whitehill and his family decided to assist the community where they could, in the form of electrical power.

Whitehill, who powers his home with a generator during outages, ran an extension cord to a surge protector placed on a table on his front porch, where he invited neighbors to charge their devices during the day and a half that Emerald Hills was without power.

"I thought it would be a great way to help the neighbors and it also turned out to be a great way to get to know my neighbors even better," Whitehill said. "I had people that I had never really talked to before come over and while their phone was charging we would be talking about the fire and the power outage."

Whitehill purchased a generator for his home after his family lost $400 worth of food in a power outage. Deciding to share the benefits, he began setting up this neighborhood charging station when PG&E was running planned power outages throughout the community and many neighbors were without electricity.

"Sometimes when the power is out like this, the only thing you really have these days is your phone," Whitehill said. "If you get low on battery or run out, then you have nothing."

Rich Goldberg used the station to charge his phone when power was out at his home. He called Whitehill's charging station an "oasis" for those who were completely in the dark, especially as residents tensely waited for updates on the fire.

"With no power and no internet, your phone is really the only connection to the outside world," Rich said. "We could find out what was happening and monitor whether or not we had to evacuate — that was crucial."

One neighbor, Lori Bedford, used the power from the generator to blow dry her hair as she prepped for her first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

"George was kind enough to string an extension cord so I took my dryer and my mirror over in the morning and did my hair in his backyard," Bedford said. "(It was) kind of a lifesaver for us."

Whitehill also provided ice to neighbors and offered up room in his refrigerator for those worried about food spoiling.

"I really take for granted sometimes our home and family and pets and all our possessions and you just think it's a given that they're always going to be there," Whitehill said. "It was just very scary to think that all of that could've gone away just because of the wind direction or because of an accident. (The fire) has given me a renewed appreciation and gratitude for everything I have."

Comments

There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Post a comment

In order to encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the commenting form is not below, you need to log in. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are truthful, on-topic and do not disrespect another poster. Don't be snarky or belittling. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our announcement about requiring registration for commenting.