Sonoma County Fires: A Declaration

Times like these are etched into the minds and souls of anyone who experiences them. Yes, time will pass, but the memory of the moment will come back in a flash with only the slightest little nudge. October 2017 is now a mark in history for all of us. I can recall a few of these times when memories are crystal clear.
Written By: Kim Vail, Executive Director
Published: November 2, 2017

Times like these are etched into the minds and souls of anyone who experiences them. Yes, time will pass, but the memory of the moment will come back in a flash with only the slightest little nudge. October 2017 is now a mark in history for all of us. Ican recall a few of these times when memories are crystal clear. I was barely in elementary school waiting in the gym for the school bus to arrive when noticing my teacher’s reaction to the news of the president’s assassination, followed by days of watching the black and white television coverage of the funeral. The 1986 Challenger explosion, attacks on the World Trade Center andPentagon on 9/11 –all of these are times when a recollection of where you were, what you were doing and what was happening isstill real.

The statistics describing the destruction of property and loss of life have made it impossible for anyone to not notice a change in what was considered normal before the evening of October 8th, even if an immediate impact from the wildfires was absent in their life. Over 100,000 acres burned, over 6,000 structures damaged or burned and 40 plus lives lost –this is surreal. I returned from a vacation, occupied by growing concerns from spotty news reports, one week into this event with the first evidence of the situation being the discovery of ash on my vehicle parked near the Oakland airport. Arriving in Santa Rosa made it impossible to imagine what horror faced everyone in the fire’s path during the preceding days.

The days that have followed have definitely been challenging and we all realize there is still a long road to travel that will provide challenge upon challenge upon challenge. Hearing the stories of how the community initially responded and continually is working to restore what has been destroyed is a source of inspiration. I am proud of the efforts by Farm Bureau office staff and leaders who engaged looking for ways to assist even though being impacted themselves.

Sitting in church on Sunday mornings since returning has been acomforting experience for me listening to the reports of all the good work that is occurring and how we might find a way forward. I will close this column with some points that have resonated with me and I will acknowledge come straight from the messageby the pastor. Please think of these as a declaration for the community to embrace:

We will take it one day at a time. We will not fear. We will see this through together. We will remember that God is with us. We will celebrate God’s miracles. We will not be anxious about anything. We will pray about everything. We will think on the right things. We will put into practice what we have seen and heard. We will do all things through Christ who strengthens us. I wish you the Peace of God in all that lies ahead.

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