Smith: How many in Sonoma County are helping others get through the Kincade fire

Thank you.

Thank you for anything you’ve done, or may yet do, for one or more human beings or animals since the embers and the smoke returned, and the mass evacuations were ordered, and the power went off, and the fear rose up like a monster we’d fought before and hoped never to see again.

I probably haven’t heard about the specific act or acts of kindness and community you’ve performed, and I may never know of them.

But I imagine myself standing before an Olympic swimming pool filled with tiny slips of paper, each bearing a mention of what someone has done for others during this ordeal. I kneel to remove and read a few.

Thanks if that was you who bought one of the many restaurant meals for firefighters and police officers who’ve come from far and wide to protect us from the Kincade fire and its allied perils.

Thank you if you were the firefighters who, while standing against the fire on Briggs Ranch Road north of Highway 128 came upon a cabin with an American flag posted outside.

You took it down to protect it, then folded it expertly into a triangle, then placed it on a table inside.

The owners of the cabin are blown away.


THANK YOU if you’ve waved to a PG&E worker, or handed him or her a cup of coffee, or at least resisted the temptation to be unpleasant.

Gov. Newsom said in Santa Rosa on Wednesday morning that some serious nastiness and even violence has been directed at PG&E employees in the field.

“I understand people’s outrage at this moment, their fear and their anxiety,” the governor said. “But please do not take it out on the hard workers that are out there quite literally trying to keep people safe and save peoples’ lives. They did not create this mess.”


THANK YOU if you’ve done anything to comfort the elderly people and the children and that animals uprooted and haunted by the evacuations and the power shut-offs.

To quote Gov. Newsom from his comments at a food distribution Wednesday by the Redwood Empire Food Bank and Kaiser Permanente, “This is when our humanity shines through.

“This is when we put aside our differences, this is when people come together ... it restores faith, and it’s the antidote to a lot of cynicism and fear and anxiety ...”

Thank you if you own a restaurant or are a caterer or other food-service angel and have gone out of your way to see that people are being fed. Thanks to eateries like Marvin’s in Cotati that have stayed open, and served folks for free.

Thanks to Ramekins, the culinary school and events venue in Sonoma, for gearing up on Halloween day to answer a call by the valley’s La Luz center to feed families in the Springs area that have struggled since the power went out.

From 3 to 5 p.m. at La Luz on Greger Street, Ramekins will serve a Halloween meal to folks in need of one.

Maybe by Thursday, residents “will have their power back,” said Ramekins general manager David Daniel, “but they may not have any food in the fridge.”

Thank you if you donated food to Ramekins for the community meal.


THANKS IF you are Healdsburg pumpkin-lot owners Jennifer and Ray Crawford and you decided that since you can’t sell pumpkins, you will give them away.

Said Jennifer, “When God gives you pumpkins, you make jack-o’-lanterns.”

When circumstances shut down her Grandma’s Pumpkin Patch, she and Ray loaded up their pumpkins and began delivering them and carving kits to folks at evacuation centers, and to churches and the Salvation Army and firefighters and police officers.

“It’s the right thing to do,” Jennifer said.


THANK YOU if you are Sonoma County musician Buzzy Martin and you’re going ahead with a double-benefit concert Sunday at the Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol.

Buzzy and his new band, The Trespassers, will start the show at 3 p.m. Proceeds from ticket sales - check out - will boost the education of at-risk teens in Sonoma County.

And Buzzy and the band will welcome contributions of cash and nonperishable foods that will go to the very busy Redwood Empire Food Bank.


THANK YOU if you happen to be the Webley family, owners of the McDonald Mansion in Santa Rosa, and you seized on a way to make this fraught Halloween more meaningful, and worthwhile.

John and Jenny Webley and their clan will for Halloween invite visitors to come to their estate on McDonald Avenue dressed as Waldo. The evening’s theme is that all the candy has been stolen, and the prime suspect is a bespectacled fellow in a red-and-white striped sweater.

It should great fun. But the Webleys decided that this year, fun isn’t enough.

They will welcome donations from their Halloween visitors, and they’ll forward every dime to the Sonoma County Resilience Fund. And that’s not all.

The Webleys will match the donations, up to $25,000.

What can you say about the way Sonoma County people unite in a crisis, and reach out to neighbors in need of a hand? Certainly we can say:

Thank you.

You can contact Staff Writer Chris Smith at 707 521-5211 and

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