Thanksgiving is a time for family, and as Joe Epstein discovered, the North Bay fires have expanded the definition of family and gratitude.
For me, Thanksgiving arrived early.
I have been riding my bike for years in the Napa foothills, and often stop at the Lokoya Fire Station for a drink of water. It is staffed by local volunteer firefighters. Several years ago, I noticed an appeal taped to the firehouse window requesting financial assistance for Ken, the Assistant Fire Chief, who needed a kidney transplant and was facing a critical deadline for his surgery. At the time, I paid only passing interest in the announcement.
But that changed after the devastating fires that raged through Napa two years ago, causing monumental losses to many of my friends and neighbors. In the wake of these fires, several things became very clear. We experienced a renewed sense of community and a more acute appreciation for each other. We also became aware of the bravery and tireless work of the first responders who came to our rescue.
At that painful time, I remembered the announcement about our local assistant fire chief Ken that was pasted on the firehouse window and decided this was the best of times to help. A few calls to friends and colleagues resulted in an unbelievably generous financial response.