A fire destroyed a staff home at Royal Ridges Retreat, a Christian youth camp in Battle Ground, on Jan. 1.
Charlotte and Toby Schultz, the couple who lived in the home, are devastated by the loss but are doing what they can to move forward.
“What we’ve been learning is that through this process there’s actually a lot of beauty in the ashes,” said Charlotte Schultz. “We’re just surrounded by such a huge community of people that we didn’t think were there, so that alone has been such a huge blessing to us, and it’s helped us process the hurt and the heartbreak.”
She said people in the community have checked in on the couple, which has provided them comfort. Others have donated their time, items like clothing and food in an effort to help out. The couple is currently living at a friend’s house as they plan their next steps.
Toby Schultz said they lost a lot of important things in the fire that destroyed their home.
“It’s hard to narrow down anything we’ve lost because everything is gone,” he said.
Toby Schultz said that despite the loss, they are doing well and are healthy.
The couple had lived in the house for only four months with their children Chloe and Isaac. They moved out of their previous home of four years in Battle Ground to the camp to try to save some money.
Royal Ridges Executive Director Joshua Tait said the cause of the fire had not been pinpointed by the fire marshal who deemed it “inconclusive.” Tait noted the fire started in the back of the house near the kitchen and porch area. He said the fire marshal believed it started around 6:15 p.m. on Jan. 1.
Charlotte and Toby Schultz worked at Royal Ridges in exchange for rent in the house they lived in, Tait said.
“They lost all of their things, including the new Christmas presents they had gotten for their children,” he said. “They were not home at the time, though.”
Tait said Royal Ridges does not plan to build a new house in the same place as the one that was lost.
“The camp has grown and that area has been surrounded by activity during all of the different programs we run year-round,” Tait said.
Royal Ridges runs four different types of day camps, which include an adventure camp, horse camp, paintball camp and a traditional camp. The camps feature a plethora of activities like horseback riding, high ropes courses, canoeing and archery.
“We probably wouldn’t put a home back at that place, but we would be looking to build a new home in its place elsewhere on the property,” Tait said.
Charlotte and Toby Schultz are grateful for everything the community has done for them.
“We just wanted to say thank you to everybody who’s helped out,” said Toby Schultz.
Charlotte Schultz also thanked the community.
“There’s people we don’t even know that have helped us so far and it’s just a way for us to express gratitude in everything they’ve done for us,” she said.
Donations to the Schultz family can be made through the La Center Church online at bit.ly//rrrschultz. They also have an Amazon wish list at www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/3A9B 55MOEXVW5?ref_=wl_share.
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