For most of our members, and probably many of our adults, Friday night's bus fire was one of the scariest events of their lives. Thankfully, we are all safe and here to talk about it.
I cannot begin to tell you how proud I am of everyone who was on the bus. When I asked you to evacuate, you did in a calm, and professional manner. Our parents and staff did a fantastic job of guiding you to safety. Those two elements, in my opinion, are the primary contributing factors that gave us our happy ending to what could have easily been a tragedy.
Today, we are not mourning the loss of our friends and bandmates. We are only wondering how we are going to replace "things." At this point, I do not have any information on this subject and may not for a couple of weeks. As you know, we are on break, and it will be hard to get in contact with those who will help us resolve this issue.
I do plan on going to see the bus next week to take inventory and calculate our losses. I will let you know what I find, and I will pass that information on to the administration as well. Several people have reached out to me with questions about recovering personal property. From what I saw on Friday night while standing inside the bus after the fire was extinguished, everything inside the bus was a total loss. While the pictures on social media and news reports look as though the front of the bus was not that badly affected by the blaze, the inside was, in fact, destroyed. Even if the fire didn't completely consume all of the items, they were heavily damaged by smoke, water, and the chemicals used to extinguish the flames.
I know too that our community is very eager to help us replace our losses. Some have begun to set up independent fundraising accounts, like GoFundMe, etc. I would ask that we not launch such drives at this point or at least pause those activities if you have already started one. Currently, we do not know who is responsible for replacing the equipment and may not for some time. Ultimately, it will be the charter company, the school district or the band. But, until we know, I do not want to collect any funds as it could be misconstrued as fundraising in bad faith. Also, if I decide to launch a fundraiser, I would prefer it be sponsored by our boosters. While I know there are people eager to help us, there would be no reason to pull funds from our community that could go to more needing organizations or individuals. I want to make sure that we indeed need a fundraiser before asking for help.
Thank you for following my direction in this matter.
Lastly, let's not forget how fortunate we are and how much we should be thankful. I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving break. I plan on turning off my phone, logging out of social media and enjoying time with my wife, kids, and grandbabies.
Talk to you when we return to school!
Dean Barrow, Band Director
The Navarre Raider Band