Simpson University’s 15th ‘Day of Service’ Focuses on Fire Recovery

REDDING, Calif.— Nearly 120 Simpson University students, staff, and faculty traveled to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area on Sept. 21 to participate in the university’s 15th annual Day of Service.

The Day of Service is a start-of-the-year tradition at Simpson, where classes for traditional undergraduate students begin the day after Labor Day.

This year’s service day had one focus: Carr Fire recovery efforts at Brandy Creek and the Camden House in the scenic recreation area just west of Redding.

“A year ago we experienced a tragic historic event here in Redding,” José Palos, Simpson University’s director of spiritual formation, told participants, who gathered at the cross near the center of campus for instructions before carpooling to Whiskeytown. “It was scary. I was here to see Redding come together and bond and unite – it was a very touching season. For us to be partnering with Whiskeytown to help them recover and get on their way to restoring its natural beauty is a huge honor.”

Students helped with cleanup, brush clearing, and spreading wood chips from downed and burned trees, among other tasks.

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area shared on Instagram: “It was fantastic to see Simpson University out in Whiskeytown last weekend to help in the park’s recovery efforts! Having so many hands from Simpson University enables park staff to open additional areas in the park. They were able to help clean the Camden House (including the curtains!), spread chips from hazard tree work, remove litter and micro trash from developed areas, and clear trails that were impacted by the Carr Fire. Thank you for your service!”

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When the Carr Fire swept into Redding in late July 2018, Simpson University opened its residence halls to first responders and its gymnasium to the Red Cross for an evacuation center. The university also served as a donation collection point for clothing and other items.

Last fall, the university launched a Carr & Camp Fire Scholarship program to help students and families impacted by the two Northern California blazes. The first recipients were welcomed to campus this month.

The Day of Service began in 2004 as an outflow of the “Gateway to World Service” motto the university has had for many years. The event has involved partnerships with numerous community organizations, with participants going out in teams to tackle projects ranging from landscaping to painting to sorting items and much more.

“Service is at the center of God’s heart,” Palos said, quoting from Philippians 2 about Jesus coming to earth as a servant. “So when we join in that heart of service, we have the opportunity to become more like Christ.”

Photos by Holly Kiker


Simpson University, founded in 1921, moved to Redding 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 8-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Simpson University is recognized nationally by Colleges of Distinction.

Simpson is launching new athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements, and it is offering new scholarships.

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