Stephen and Teresa discover they are Kenyon Team Members whilst supporting recovery efforts for the California Wildfires.
This is their story.
“I am employed at the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office in the Coroner’s Bureau as a Deputy Coroner Investigator. In July 2018 our county of Shasta had a devastating fire called the Carr Fire. This fire destroyed close to 230,000 acres and at least 1,604 structures. There were eight fatalities attributed to this fire. The coroner’s office was working 24 hours a day preparing for and responding to this disaster. Not only were the members of this agency working long and strenuous hours many of us were evacuated and/or lost our homes during this fire. Our family was evacuated for a week and thankfully we did not lose our home, however, many others did.
In November our agency learned of the Camp Fire which occurred In Butte County. The phenomenal mass fatality response trainings and deployments I have done with Kenyon prepared me for what was to come next. The morning after the fire began our agency was requested to assist. Shasta County is approximately 130 miles from Butte County. The Shasta County Coroner’s Bureau assisted with the Camp Fire mass fatality response for approximately three weeks. Since we began our response the day after the fire began we were faced with many extreme obstacles. The area was still actively burning and presented many unsafe conditions. We had teams of people assigned to different areas, as we know; in a mass fatality incident the logistics team is just as important as the admin team is just as important as the human remains recovery team! I worked with a team who were specific to human remains search and recovery. This involved covering many miles searching for remains and most importantly with my formal and applied forensic anthropology training I was assigned to designate human from animal remains, as well as, search, recovery, and proper field techniques for collection.
I met Stefan Prost on 14 November 2018. I began work there on 9 November 2018. I was working on a large structure doing the search and recovery of remains. By that time in the deployment there were numerous anthropology excavation teams which were assisting. I know Stefan was working in the capacity of being on one of the many Search and Rescue teams which had also assembled by this time in the deployment. We were casually talking and the discussion of mass fatality response came up and the rest is history! It was so lovely to find a common bond with a fellow forensic anthropologist AND a Kenyon Team Member! Such a unique subset of people and I am happy we met under such dire circumstances. Besides the WEALTH of experience and knowledge Kenyon has provided to me, my trainings with Kenyon and the deployments I have worked have allowed me to make lifelong friends.”
“Teresa and I met at a burned down house with a human find. My role as a forensic anthropologist was to ID bones and help with possible finds. When I established that we indeed had human remains, I called the coroner’s team, which included Teresa, for documentation and recovery. They were super great to work with! And we started to chat and found out that both of us are in Kenyon.
My role was to (a) work as forensic anthropologist in the field, supporting search teams and do human vs. animal remain IDs, (b) carry out recoveries together with coroner teams, (c) I was part of the search planning team the first three days (which meant I had 18-20h days) and (d) was liaison between forensic anthropology and Search and Rescue (since I’m both, a forensic anthropologist and in the San Mateo County based BAMRU search and rescue team for many years).”