Helping in tough, and in promising, times


California Transportation Foundation logo

By Kathleen Freeman
California Transportation Foundation Volunteer

It has been a tough few months for the Caltrans family.

The Camp Fire started near Paradise Nov. 8 before it decimated most of the town. As of Dec.7, authorities confirmed 85 deaths due to the fire. It destroyed more than 13,500 residences, 528 commercial buildings and 4,300 other structures. More than 52,000 people were evacuated from Paradise and other foothill communities, including Pulga, Magalia, Concow, Chico and Park Hill. Some 5,600 firefighters battled the devastating fire.

Nearly two dozen Caltrans employees lost their homes to the fire. If you would like to help, please visit and select the Camp Fire Caltrans Victims Fund from the drop-down menu.

Also, on Oct. 16, District 7 Caltrans Highway Maintenance Worker Mario Ruiz died in a head-on collision on State Route 43 in Bakersfield, while driving home from work. Mr. Ruiz is survived by his wife and five children. To help his family during this difficult time, visit the California Transportation Foundation’s donation page and select the “Ruiz Memorial Fund.”

On Sept. 19, Caltrans District 11 Highway Maintenance Leadworker William Casdorph, affectionately known as “Cas,” fell 50 feet from the SR-163 Overpass and died from his injuries at the hospital. Donations can also be made to the “Casdorph Memorial Fund,” at the same link. CTF is matching donations up to $5,000 for the Casdorph Memorial Fund.

Since its beginning in 1988, one of the main goals of the foundation has been to support students planning to pursue transportation-related careers through its Scholarship Program. The foundation has done this through various ways, including partnering with Caltrans districts. The following are recent scholarship winners through these partnerships:  

  • District 1: Chris Friedley and Jasmine Ortega from McKinleyville High School ($1,000 each)
  • District 2: Aislinn Matagulay from Shasta High School, Brian Rogers from Redding Christian High School, Cristian Orr from Shasta College, and Salvador Torres III from Cuesta Junior College ($1,000 each) and
  • District 8 Scholarship Winner: Caitlin Rowe from Yueca Valley High School ($1,000).

CTF encourages high school seniors intent on a career in transportation who will be attending a California university to apply for #CTFScholarships at Please see the foundation’s website for more information on all the various types of scholarships available.