Fire Extra: Banquet Postponed, But Meals Go On

Noting the smoky conditions from the fires that scorched portions of Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties, NorthBay Healthcare leadership made the decision last week to cancel a pair of annual events: the employee banquet and the NICU Reunion celebration.

Both events were scheduled at the Green Valley Administration Center during the height of the wildfire battle.

The NICU Reunion event was canceled due to smoky conditions not deemed healthy for children. There is currently no decision on rescheduling.

The annual employee banquet will be rescheduled. Cordelia Fire officials were happy to receive the food for their crews.

“You have my solemn promise that the show will go on at another time,” noted President and CEO Konard Jones in an email announcing the decision.

A tentative date has been set for Nov. 30, but invitees should watch for a formal invitation to be mailed with a new date.

“Many of our employees live in areas affected by the dreadful fires that have wreaked so much devastation. They’ve been evacuated or they now host loved ones or colleagues who have moved in with them temporarily,” Konard wrote. “Many people who would like to attend … would miss it because of various factors. The dynamics of the fire, its proximity to our facilities in Green Valley and the unpredictable air quality that affects patient care everywhere causes this to be a very fluid situation, hour by hour.”

Kroc Center/Salavation Army staff and volunteers were pleased to accept NorthBay's donations.The meal wasn’t a total loss, though. Rather than simply cancel the banquet, the decision was made to send the approximately 430 meals to local firefighters and evacuees.

“It’s part of our mission to provide compassionate care to the community. We salute our hard-working firefighters and volunteers and wish the best for the evacuees,” the Facebook announcement of the decision noted.

Of the 430 Meals, 160 went to evacuees at Solano Community College. Another 110 were sent to firefighters at Suisun Valley and Gordon Valley; About 50 went to Cordelia firefighters, and the remainder, a little over 100, went to the Fairfield incident command center.

A team from Human Resources and Public Affairs teamed up to make the deliveries Wednesday afternoon, after meals were picked up from the Sunrise Event Center in Vacaville.A volunteer with the Kroc Center carries trays of food donated by NorthBay healthcare into the SCC cafe.

Reaction on social media was overwhelmingly positive.

The initial post announcing plans to cancel the meal and donate it to local firefighters and evacuees has reached 20,304 people’s Facebook news feeds. As of Oct. 20, it has been shared 159 times, had 75 comments posted on it and received more than 870 “reactions” (likes, loves, etc.).

When a video slideshow of the delivery of the food was posted, it enjoyed an even bigger response. By Oct. 20, it  had been served to 22,074 people’s Facebook newsfeeds, had been shared 181 times, viewed more than 11,000 times, had 34 comments posted on it, eliciting 449 reactions.

Volunteers smile as they prepare food for deliveryThe reactions from firefighters and evacuees were priceless.

“They were very grateful,” said Lacy DeQuattro, program coordinator for the NorthBay Simulation Lab and a volunteer with the Suisun Fire Protection District. “One crew said it was the first real food they had since Sunday (when the blaze began).”

“This is really, greatly appreciated,” confirmed Cordelia Fire Chief Keith Martin.