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Santa Barbara Independent's Local Heroes 2018

by Patrick Braid |

Today, 32 years and more than 1,600 issues later, this Local Heroes edition remains our proudest and most meaningful annual achievement. It’s our best effort to remind everyone that, despite the steady drumbeat of bad news, we are surrounded by neighbors who care and who put those cares into concrete action every day.

This year, in the wake of the Thomas Fire and the devastating 1/9 Debris Flow, we were presented with more stories of heroism than we’ve ever seen. So we honored as many of those first and second responders as we could on page 20, knowing that we’d never be able to capture each and every lifesaving and community-recovering tale.

But we also adhered to our usual format of honoring the hard work of people who were not part of those disasters. The Local Heroes class of 2018 features homeless advocates, dancers, lawn bowlers, librarians, grocery store employees, and many more of our neighbors who regularly put the lives and well-being of others in front of their own needs.

We’re proud to shine a light on all of these good works, and we hope that it inspires others to do the same.

Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow Responders

By Paul Wellman

This is a picture of community. These women and men ​— ​and many others not pictured ​— ​took action during and after last winter’s historic Thomas Fire and deadly 1/9 Debris Flow. Among countless acts of heroism and kindness, they saved people, searched for the missing, dug out buried homes, and cared therapeutically for traumatized survivors. Many were professionally trained, ready to do their jobs. Others organized spontaneously in the wake of catastrophic disaster. All were eager to help, rebuild, and maintain the long view that when the mountain comes down, human nature can rise up. We thank them all for large and small acts of response, rescue, and recovery. Most were able to gather at Montecito Union School for this photograph.

The list of all nominated heroes is as follows: 805 Conservation Collective, 805 UndocuFund, Ace Rivington, All Saints-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, American Institute of Architects (AIA), American Red Cross, California Highway Patrol, Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Department, Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), Cottage Hospital, Cottage Hospital Psych Association, Family Service Agency, Future Leaders of America, Habitat for Humanity, Hope 805 and the Mental Wellness Center, Hospice of Santa Barbara, Institute for Collective Trauma and Growth, Jeannine’s, KEYT News Channel 3, Lompoc City Fire, McCune Foundation, Mixteco/Indígena Community Organizing Project (MICOP), Montecito Center for Preparedness, Montecito Emergency Response & Recovery Action Group (MERRAG), Montecito Fire Protection District, Montecito Trails Foundation, Montecito Union and Cold Spring school districts, Montecito Village merchants, Peter Lapidus Construction, Recovery and Rebuilding, Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade, Santa Barbara County Behavioral Wellness, Santa Barbara County Fire Department, Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Barbara Police Department, Santa Barbara Response Network, Santa Barbara Support Network, Schwan Brothers Excavation, United States Forest Service, Unity Shoppe, Village Cheese & Wine, Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD), and Women’s Economic Ventures.


Read the full article at Santa Barbara News Press: