Cotati auction, dinner raises money for first-of-its-kind support center for first responders

A live auction and dinner in Cotati on Saturday evening raised money for a new support center for area first responders.

First Responders Resiliency’s fundraising goal was $2 million, according to the nonprofit organization’s Founder and Executive Director Susan Farren.

“Go big or go home, girl,” she joked.

Money raised will go towards a center in Cotati that will offer services including trauma therapy, family services and addiction recovery support.

It will be the first center of its kind in the world, Farren said. She hopes to open it by 2023.

State Sen. Mike McGuire hosted the auction. Items up for grabs included a Golden State Warriors ticket package, a vacation package to the Central Coast, Sonoma County staycations and sponsorships for trainings provided through the nonprofit.

Along with the auction, guests enjoyed a vegetarian, seafood or beef dinner prepared by Healdsburg chef Mateo Granados and a screening of “Damien,” a short film produced by the organization about the work it does to address post-traumatic stress in first responders.

The event cost $150 to attend in person and was free to attend online.

The organization is close to Farren’s heart.

She was a paramedic for 30 years before founding First Responders Resiliency in 2017. Its aim is to support first responders as they face physical and emotional trauma brought on by the nature of their job.

“People just don’t know. They don’t know how much the first responders suffer, and sometimes the first responders don’t even recognize the impact their work has on them. So we’re here to help them understand what’s happening and how we can turn that around,” Farren said.

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