Rotary Club of Burney-Fall River hosts foreign exchange student victimized by Camp Fire

NEWS RELEASE from Bob Jehn, November 10, 2018:

Imagine yourself in a foreign country trying to communicate in a new language when suddenly a massive wildfire sweeps through the town where you are living, destroying your house and everything you brought with you except your passport, your cell phone, and the clothes you are wearing. That’s exactly what happened to Valeria Romo Mejia, a fifteen-year-old Rotary Youth Exchange Student from Columbia, as she was preparing to leave for classes at Paradise High School on November 8th.

Photo taken by Valeria as she was fleeing the Camp Fire

Victims of the most destructive fire in California history, Valeria and her host family endured the four-hour drive to Chico with more than 20,000 others who were trying to escape the flames, not knowing what would be next.

Fire Chief Monte Keady

Thanks to the Rotary support network and a quick decision by Rotary Club President-Elect and Burney Fire Chief Monte Keady, Valeria is safely in Burney in her own room at Monte and Robin Keady’s home. The Keadys were already hosting Austrian Exchange Student Katharina Schatz, who had made friends with Valeria at the Interact Kickoff Event in Winters, California last month.

Columbian exchange Student Valeria Romo Mejia

Rotary Youth Exchange Officer Bob Jehn along with Rotary District personnel is coordinating the effort to provide immediate financial assistance to Valeria, so she can purchase new clothes, school supplies, and other personal items lost in the fire.

Jehn says, “We hope Valeria decides to stay in Burney for the rest of her exchange year, but we’re taking it one day at a time. I’m just so proud to be part of an organization with members like Monte and Robin, who are always thinking of how they can help others.”



Filed under Burney, Fire Departments, Rotary Club of Burney-Fall River

3 responses to “Rotary Club of Burney-Fall River hosts foreign exchange student victimized by Camp Fire

  1. jill barnett

    The world is made more amazing by people like Monte ,Robin and Bob
    Thank you Jill


  2. Diego y Olga Romo

    Buenas noches.
    Estamos eternamente Agradecidos por la hospitalidad prestada a nuestra hija Valeria por tantas personas, en especial por la familia de Monte y Robin Keady quienes han proporcionado aparte de un hogar, tantas cosas bonitas para nuestra hija en medio de esta experiencia tan fuerte y dificil. Esperamos de todo corazón que las Personas de Paradise puedan recuperarse. Los llevamos en nuestras mentes y oraciones.


  3. Olga Mejia

    Thanks for help to our daugther Valeria in this hard time, from Colombia God bless you.


    Diego y Olga


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