Steamboat filmmaker and crew to repair and deliver RV to Camp Fire victims left homeless | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat filmmaker will document delivery of RV to Camp Fire victims

James Gabriel stands in front of the RV he and his film crew will take to California for Camp Fire victims. (Courtesy photo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — James Gabriel, filmmaker and owner of Whistle Bird Productions and a KFMU radio show producer, watched countless videos of the the Camp Fire wildfire devour neighborhoods and homes in Paradise, California.

"I'm originally from New Orleans and know what it is for family members to lose everything," he said. "I couldn't get it (the wildfire) out of my head. I had to do something."

His solution? An RV. And more specifically, a 1989 Fleetwood Jamboree RV that he purchased from a friend in the spring and was in the process of fixing up all summer. The plan was to use the RV to go on the road and pursue various documentaries.

If you go

What: Resilience IPA release and fundraiser for Camp Fire Relief Fund

When: 2 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11

Where: Butcherknife Brewing Co., 2875 Elk River Road

"When the snow came, I couldn't really do anything, so as the parking lot filled up with snow, it just sat there," he said.

After Googling "How to donate an RV to victims in need," the name James Faircloth popped up.

Faircloth, who lives in Denver, too felt the need to help in some way and instead of writing a social media post about “thoughts and prayers” for those affected or sharing the latest news updates, he decided to get personally involved.

Since Thanksgiving, Faircloth, a father of four, has driven out to Chico, California, many times in an RV filled with items to donate, including the actual RV. To date, he has donated a total of 45 RVs to those in need.

"I just thought, 'Wow, if he can do it, I can too,’" Gabriel said.

Gabriel has been working with Faircloth to get the RV ready and to determine the route for the 19-plus-hour drive with his film crew, including Paulina Beckett Gabriel, Colton Carson and Michael Edward Staley.

"We have the ability to provide something for others who are in need right now," Gabriel said. "I think that if you're going to do something like this, now is the time.”

Gabriel and his crew will donate their time to create a documentary titled, "RV to Paradise," documenting their trip and the stories they encounter along the way to California.

"Our main goal here is to create a detailed documentary, so that the others, when they see it, will be encouraged to do the same or give assistance in any way they can," Gabriel said.

Currently, Gabriel is raising money to support the effort.

On Friday, Gabriel will be at Butcherknife Brewing Co. for its Resilience IPA tapping, which will become part of the film. He also will have the opportunity to talk about the RV project. The crew hopes the RV will be finished by Jan. 25, the day the group is scheduled to hit the road for California.

Butcherknife, as well as 1,400 breweries, including Storm Peak Brewing Co., teamed up with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to produce the Resilience Butte County Proud IPA, a fundraiser beer for the Camp Fire Relief Fund. Proceeds from the sale of the beer will benefit the Camp Fire Relief Fund.

Gabriel and his crew have also created a GoFundMe page for donations at gofundme.com/rv-donation-amp-travel-fund. 

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

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