CHICO, Calif. (KTVU) - A Southern California businessman heartbroken by the destruction brought by the Camp Fire traveled to Chico on Tuesday with plans to directly hand $1,000 to each student and staff member of Paradise High School.
Real estate developer and restaurant owner Bob Wilson told KTVU that he was moved by a recent Los Angeles Times article he read about how teens in Paradise have been affected by the fire.
"It struck me about how these kids were losing out on the high school experience," Wilson said.
He said the simple youth pleasures like just hanging out with friends or attending school functions are not possible for these teens, as they've been scattered and separated from one another because of the fire.
"High school had a significant impact on my life," Wilson said, "So I made up my mind, I'd like to do something for these kids."
What he made up his mind to do resulted in him writing checks totaling more than $1 million, money that will go to the 980 students and 105 teachers and staff members of Paradise High.
Wilson reached out to the school's principal and told him his idea of directly delivering the money to the school community.
He said the principal was ecstatic. "You could have scraped him off cloud nine," Wilson said. "They need it now. Not next month, not next week, right now," he added.
Wilson plans to meet with students and staff in Chico on Tuesday evening and personally hand them their donations.
He said prior to this decision to help in this manner, he had no ties whatsoever to the residents of Paradise, but with this act of generosity there will be more than a million ways he'll be connected with the community that has lost so much.
This story was reported from Oakland, Calif.