Friends and family are mobilizing to raise money and the basics of living for Richfield resident Rick Walker and his daughter Hannah, a freshman at Richfield High School.
One month ago, on April 23, Rick and his daughter lost their Richfield mobile home in an electrical fire. No one was home at the time, and no one was hurt. The Walkers lost nearly all their belongings as well as their home. They had no home insurance.
“Almost everything was gone,” said Rick’s brother, Kent Laverty of Boise, a former Wood River Valley resident.
Walker, 57, a 1974 Wood River High School graduate, is an equipment operator for Bellevue-based S. Irwin Excavation. He is the grandson of cattleman Wayne Clark, who helped organize the local Sawtooth Rangers Riding Club and served for 15 years as chair of Hailey’s Days of the Old West celebration.
A Wood River classmate of Rick Walker, Cindy Heuston Herrenschumidt of Carmichael, Calif., is now organizing an online campaign to raise money, helped by Laverty. The online fundraiser ends Aug. 1.
The goal of the fundraiser is to raise $15,000 to help Walker replace the mobile home and continue to support his daughter as she completes her schooling. As of Monday, $2,795 had been raised, or 19 percent of the goal.
The community of Richfield is sponsoring a benefit dinner and auction Saturday, May 25, from 5-9 p.m. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. and the auction at 7 p.m., both at Richfield High School.
Donations are needed for Saturday’s live and silent auctions and baked-goods sale. Dinner costs $5 per person. There will be free babysitting. Call Rebecca at 208-320-1387 or 208-487-2530 for donations.
Rick and Hannah are receiving help from the community of Richfield in terms of clothing, food and other support. For several weeks, the Walkers had a temporary place to stay, on mattresses, in a house in town. Just last weekend a temporary mobile home was situated on his property.
Among the items the Walkers need are a microwave oven, clock radio, DVD/CD player, copier/scanner, chainsaw, hide-a-bed, easy chair and iPod. Hannah needs clothes as well (27-28 waist, 31-32 length, dress size 7 and women’s shoe size 8 to 8.5).
Glanbia Co. has given Walker a $1,000 gift certificate to use at WalMart, according to Laverty. Someone has also donated hay so that Walker, a world champion chariot racer back in 1982, can feed his horses.
Walker has deep roots in this area. His grandfather Wayne Clark, who died in 2006 at 96, was a Carey High School graduate and former Blaine County commissioner and watermaster. Clark first settled on a ranch outside Hill City with his family in 1905. As president of the Yellowstone-Sun Valley Highway Association, Clark pushed what was then called the Idaho Central Highway—the current U.S. 20 route between Mountain Home and West Yellowstone, Mont.
Clark, who loved town sports, would have enjoyed the fact that his great-granddaughter Hannah Walker plays on the Richfield High School basketball and volleyball teams, and will be a sophomore next year. Rick has full custody.
Check www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/hb92/rickandhannahwalker. Mail donations to Rick Walker, 125 E. Oneida St., Richfield, ID 83349.