For the past month the Atlanta Falcons have been trying to replace WR D.J. Shockley, who was traded to the San Francisco 49ers just after the 2012 NFL draft ended. The Falcons have searched for a starting receiver all offseason, and have so far gone through a number of candidates, none of them sticking. The club likely will try to find a veteran receiver who can play on third down, and that player may or may not be another wideout.

The tragic fire in the Dixie Holler neighborhood of Atlanta that claimed the lives of five people.

The family of Falcons running back Keith Smith lost everything in the Dixie Fire on August 7th, 2013. He’s the first Falcon to die in the 2013 season. He also takes the place of former Falcon running back Jason Snelling, who died in 2011 due to complications from a car accident.

Earlier this month, Larry and Beth Foster gathered as much as they could from their Greenville, California, home. Before coming home to recover more, they had previously dropped off the horses and poultry at a temporary site.

When they heard of evacuations, they usually got a heads up. They were expecting an order any day now, but they already had two truckloads of clothing and papers loaded and securely secured. They thought they had enough time to collect additional information.

But then they turned around and gazed up at the mountain that loomed above their house.

Beth Foster stated, “You could see the flames going down the mountain.” “They were approaching quickly,” said the narrator.

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Larry and Beth hurriedly grabbed old quilts, more photographs, and any last essential documents, then jumped into their vehicles. They were unsure of what to anticipate. They thought their home and the nine-plus acres they resided on would escape the fire, despite seeing it coming.

Keith Smith’s phone rang thousands of miles away, inside the Atlanta Falcons’ training complex. He began to understand what was going on in a group conversation with his mother and siblings. The Dixie Fire was on its way. There had been a number of evacuations.

Then he found out that his aunt and uncle’s house had been burned down.


“We were defeated in Greenville tonight.”

Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., who represented Greenville in Congress, said this in an emotional Facebook video post on Aug. 4. Even though they didn’t know if their homes had survived or not, he and his constituents, including Larry and Beth, began to absorb what had occurred.

The visuals in the films were heartbreaking, and the photos were equally so. The tiny village was mostly devastated. The story made headlines across the globe, with the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the, among others, reporting on it.

The fire had a significant impact on the Fosters’ daily lives, especially Larry’s job as a carpenter and plumber. Their immediate and long-term prospects were uncertain.

Larry said that they were still hopeful as they watched the flames engulf them. The family split up, with Larry and Beth going to Reno, Nevada, their daughter and her boyfriend going somewhere else, and their son going to Chico, California, to stay with friends.

Later, when one of Larry’s buddies, who worked for the fire department and drove a water truck, went by their house, reality set in. It had been completely demolished, except for the roof and the brick chimney.

Larry and Beth received photos from a friend.

“Not knowing was terrifying and distressing,” Beth said. “At first, you simply don’t believe that your family is well and that you are OK. And it is, without a doubt, the most important factor.

“Then, as time passes, the loss becomes more palpable. Everything has vanished, as you are aware. This is our house.”

Larry was able to rescue the animals as well as two truckloads of clothing, quilts, documents, and equipment that he might use for work when business started up again. Their family was also protected. Everything else was either destroyed or had no known condition.

After losing their house in the California wildfires, Larry and Beth Foster, an uncle and aunt of Falcons fullback Keith Smith, contracted COVID-19. Courtesy Larry and Beth Foster are a husband and wife team.

Larry and Beth wound up at a Reno motel two and a half hours away. They enlisted the help of their Greenville neighbors in their search for information. There wasn’t a lot of it.

“‘Have you heard anything?’ says the dialogue. No. Have you done so? ‘No,’ I replied “Larry said. “… There’s a lot of waiting to be done, and no one wants to do it.”

Smith’s mother, Beth’s sister, said that she will be visiting the Fosters in Reno for a few days to help them deal. Larry, on the other hand, had begun to feel ill. Larry and Beth both got COVID-19 shortly after landing in Reno, isolating them in the motel.

But assistance was on the way.

Smith and his family began brainstorming ideas in the group text. They understood that filing insurance claims would help offset some of Larry and Beth’s losses, but filing claims takes time, and they were stranded hours away from home and unable to work.

By using his platform as an NFL player, Smith understood he was in a strong financial position to help. Smith created a GoFundMe page and shared his aunt and uncle’s tale with his 103,000 Instagram followers, along with a link to Beth’s Venmo account. Smith began by sending $3,000 through Venmo.

Smith told ESPN, “You feel for them and it’s hard to connect.” “I don’t believe you can really comprehend how it feels to lose your house and, more importantly, what you call home, as well as items that are irreplaceable.”

Smith said he received messages from other NFL players, including Raiders’ Maxx Crosby, who claimed to have given money. Beth expressed her surprise at the outpouring of support. Although the Fosters are unsure of the exact amount of money given, they estimate it to be about $8,000.

“It’s just been a little overwhelming,” Beth said.


The Fosters were still unsure of the magnitude of the devastation two weeks later. They think their tractor survived, but their home, as well as a tiny, secondary house on the property, an RV trailer, and several vintage vehicles Larry had been working on, are all gone.

They’re still in Reno, feeling better after COVID and waiting to hear when they’ll be able to return to see what’s left. They believe virtually everything is gone based on the few pictures they’ve seen.

“I’m at a loss for words to express how terrible that feels.” “You’re never going back to that house,” Beth remarked, stopping to gather her thoughts. “You’ll never go through that front door.”

“And, yes, it’s a complete disaster. I know it can be replaced, but it’s still a pain. It’s a substantial amount.”

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The Fosters, like many others in Greenville, are unsure about what will happen next. They want to rebuild, but they’re not sure if or when that will be possible, or what it will look like. They haven’t considered alternative possibilities. The effect of their losses is still fresh as they cope with them.

They don’t want to go too far from Reno yet, Larry added, even to Southern California, where Smith’s mother resides, since they want to be as near to their property as possible when they return.

They aren’t on their own. They are well aware of this. Greenville is situated in Plumas County, which has a population of 18,807 persons according to the most recent census. Greenville had a population of approximately 1,000 people at the time.

It was a tiny town, and everyone seemed to know everyone else. It’s no longer there.

“Not only have we lost our house, but we’ve also lost our whole community, and it’s a tiny town,” Beth said. “… You may see faces you’d see at the grocery store or everywhere else in town and simply wonder how they’re doing.”

“Just honestly, from what I’ve heard on Facebook, the majority of people want to restore Greenville if it’s possible, you know. The town must be rebuilt.”

It was a Friday night in Southern Ontario last February when the Dixie Fire broke out, burning more than 5,000 hectares in less than 24 hours. Now, more than six months after the blaze devastated the area, some of the survivors are coping with the loss of their homes and livelihoods.. Read more about keith smith salary and let us know what you think.

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