Hundreds of holiday “thank you” cards have ended up at the Manteca Fire Department from Sonoma County residents grateful for their help in battling the destructive wildfires that swept through the Napa-Sonoma region in October killing 44 people, destroying 8,900 homes and other buildings causing losses in excess of $9 billion.
The Manteca Fire Department strike team sent the city’s green Office of Emergency Service engine and one Manteca city engine with 11 personnel to help fight the wildfire in an area near Santa Rosa.
Battalion Chief Bill Canfield and front office administrative assistant Amy Rubio shuffled through the countless thank you cards Thursday afternoon at the Union Road fire station noting that many of those cards came through the efforts of FM radio station Froggy 92.9. Disc jockeys at the country station encouraged their listening audience to offer their thanks and appreciation to firefighters throughout Northern California that responded including those from the Manteca Fire Department.
The Santa Rosa station tag line read, “Rob and Joss in the Morning and our Amazing Listeners:
“We’ve been working these past few weeks with our listeners to collect thousands of holiday cards for those that helped with our wildfires here in Northern California and we wanted to send you some. You helped us in our darkest hour. To see you stepping in and helping our community brought relief, a feeling of love and often tears to our eyes. Thank you for your time, efforts and bravery. You’ll never, ever be forgotten.”
A letter from a Windsor Middle School student named Isis read:
“Dear Manteca Fire Department, Thank you so much for coming down to Sonoma County to help put our wild fires. We are very grateful for your service. God Bless You!”
A thank you card from yet another young student read:
“To: Manteca Fire Department from Kimberly Cervantes. Thank you ‘sooo’ much for everything you’ve done to stop the fires. We ae so blessed to have kind and amazing people like you saving thousands of people and I know you worked hard every day fighting something unbelievable!! Thank you!”
Another card with the multiple signatures of several adults added:
“Cannot thank you enough for your bravery, stamina, courage – True Heroes. Love, signed, Julie Ramaccutti Byrne.” Another read: “Thank you for all your help. Hugs and kisses.” Another wrote: “Thank you for everything you do every day.” Several others added a simple “Thank you” to the Manteca firefighters.
A letter from the Daniels family, Thea, Parker, and Carson Gibney read:
“You come with many labels, fire, police ambulance, PG&E, dispatchers paid and voluntary. Please know that we are so grateful for your amazing courage, strength, and ability to rescue our town from the devastating fires of the October firestorm. We are limping along together as a community healing as a result of your efforts to fight the wildfires. Many of us were affected violently and with personal loss and many more are as a result being a part of our devastated community. The term ‘IT TAKES A VILLAGE’ doesn’t even begin to describe the ongoing efforts to move everyone forward. Thank you for giving us a start. My sons and I were a few of the many that stood near the fire staging area at the Sonoma County fairgrounds and one of he best experiences was our celebrating you all and you celebrating us celebrating you!’
“We all really pulled together citizens, first responders, volunteer organizations and volunteers from near and far. How cool it is to be a part of people helping people. Blessings to you and to your loved ones this holiday season and always for your leadership, courage and ability to simply be amazing in helping people and communities.”
A Sonoma County winery sent a case of wine to the firefighters in Manteca, however policy kept them from keeping the gift and they sent it on to a Manteca non-profit as a gift from the Santa Rosa winery. They also received a large wooden apple basket filled with oranges and apples they could enjoy at their station.
The Thomas Fire in Ventura County near Santa Barbara again called on Manteca’s mutual aid firefighters where the green Office of Emergency Services engine plus a city engine responded on Dec, 5 with another 11 personnel responding to that fire line. While 10 of those firefighters have returned to Manteca, one remains on the fire line. That firefighter hopes to be home within the week.