October 30, 2017 – While driving around Loma Rica I see a lot of signs thanking firefighters, law enforcement, and the electric company. These well trained professional heroes made all the difference with their quick, tireless, and heroic responses to the recent fire.

Before too much time goes by, and this event is replaced by future disasters, there are others who also deserve our heartfelt thanks.

Thank you to the spouses and families of the first responders who worked and waited patiently for their loved ones to return to them; your sacrifice is also heroic.

Thank you to the people who, in the smoky darkness, called neighbors, pounded on neighbors’ doors, drove up and down fiery roads honking horns and shouting “fire,” and who provided rides to safety; God knows how many lives you saved.

Thank you to the people for miles around who provided shelter, food, and support to evacuees; you exemplify generosity.

Thank you to those with shovels, hoses, tractors, and chain saws who stood and fought the blaze while others ran; your bravery is epic.

Thank you to those who stayed to protect their own homes and those of their neighbors from fire and looters; your self-reliance is what America was built on. Thank you to those who stayed and checked the houses of neighbors, friends, and friends of friends to let them know if they had a place to return to; you shortened their anxiety.

Thank you the Sheriff’s Posse, Animal Control, rescue organizations, neighbors, and strangers for saving or tending to animals who had to be left behind; those animals are not just valuable, but are also loved.

Thank you to those who drove to road blocks and over back roads to shuttle food, water, tools, and supplies to those who stayed; you gave them strength.

Thank you to all those who lent generators, cars, and tools and who gave food, water, clothes, toys, appliances, money, and all manner of good things to strangers in need; you have comforted the afflicted.

Thank you to all those who have prayed for us; your prayers change things.

Thank you to the Lions, the churches, and all the local groups who have been working ceaselessly to provide cooked food and all kinds of services and comforts to their neighbors from the moment the evacuation was lifted; you are the backbone of our community.

Thanks to the county, state, and federal agencies who are working to provide long term relief; you answered the call.

Thank you to all those people on social media who informed us and comforted us, who made us smile and cry, who made us proud and sad, who made known the needs of others, and who so quickly met those needs; you brought us closer together and made us stronger.

Thank you to those who lost their houses and bravely persevere, and especially those who have planted American flags over the ashes of their homes; you are our best examples of courage and indomitable spirit.

Thank you, in advance, to all those who will continue to give until this disaster is a memory.

Most of all, thank you, Almighty God, that I live in this strong community, for I am surrounded by heroes.