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In the past few weeks, the heroic and sacrificial efforts of our Napa Valley firefighters, paramedics, police, Cal Fire, National Guard, and other personnel who are entrusted with community safety have been of immeasurable value.

These local heroes in our county and in Sonoma and other neighboring counties were joined to do battle by men and women from throughout California and the United States. How appropriate that signs are popping up around town to express "Thank You" to all first responders.

As is typical in Napa with needs in a crisis, many local individuals are already volunteering in so many ways to assist the numerous sites and opportunities to make a difference in helping our families, friends and neighbors.

With Thanksgiving approaching it really seems important to use this significant season now to engage and say "thank you" before the teams of individuals working in our communities head out after a battle hard fought is won.

Maybe you could personally say "thank you" by purchasing the essentials that a firefighter has in their basket at a local store, or treat to lunch or a coffee if they are on break in line at a restaurant or coffee shop? Maybe when the NVUSD students are back to school, there can be a "thank you" campaign to direct personal letters from individuals that can be sent out to our local teams of first responders and to the many who came to serve here and in our neighboring communities.

Every time I engaged a first responder to express my gratitude this past week, it was with great humility they acknowledged me. Please let's encourage one another to step forward directly, one-on-one, and acknowledge their efforts now; and let's encourage our children and grandchildren to be taught to be expressing gratitude often. As we know, there will be much to do as the ashes settle.

I continue to work and pray for restoration and renewal for our community.

Roseanne Kirby