Olympians make surprise visit to California schools hit by fierce wildfire

Vastavam web: Students at two schools in Agoura Hills, California, that narrowly avoided being destroyed by a fierce wildfire received surprise visits this week from Olympic athletes who brought new sports equipment and delivered much needed cheer. At the Yerba Buena Elementary School, which is surrounded by hillsides blackened by the Woolsey Fire, softball player Hannah August donned new catcher’s gear and shared a laugh with members of the U.S. National Softball team.

“These are the girls and the people we look up to supporting us and surprising us to help us get through this tough time.” The Woolsey Fire ignited on Nov. 8 in the mountains above Malibu and torched some 96,949 acres across Los Angeles and Ventura counties before it was contained, destroying 1,643 structures and killing three. Students said it has been surreal to drive past burned-out houses and empty hillsides on their way to school every day.

Softball outfielder Janie Reed, an Orange County native and member of the U.S. National Team that has qualified to compete in Tokyo in 2020, said she leapt at the opportunity to join the group of eight past and future Olympians on Monday’s visit. Freestyle skier David Wise told the students to take life lessons from the tragedy.