Thankful for those who served community during Caldor (Opinion)
It takes a village … and even more to protect one. I am so grateful for the people who stepped up to serve during this crisis. From those with dedicated emergency response roles to those whose gestures, like expressing their thanks through a heartfelt sign, you have each done your part.
I’d like to thank: Unified Command and its troops of firefighters, hand crews, dozer operators, helicopter and airplane pilots, meteorologists, fire behavior analysts, and the other dedicated wildland fire professionals; Hospitality workers at the Stateline-area hotel base camp; Utility employees protecting systems before the fire arrived and confirming these systems’ safety again before we returned; Forestry personnel who spent years proactively clearing and managing our surrounding forests; Medical professionals who returned to care for firefighters at their Heavenly Mountain base camp; And, as with any wide-reaching disaster, there are even more who cannot be named or recognized, but who served their community and helped see us to the other side of the Caldor Fire.
As the CEO of our community hospital, I also wanted to express my admiration for the team at Barton Health. I am humbled by the dedication and servitude exhibited by so many Barton employees and physicians. We prepare for evacuation and emergency scenarios, but the intensity and seriousness of evacuating all patients safely, while also evacuating our own homes, was palpable. People loaded their car with their most precious belongings, then stopped at the hospital to add equipment and supplies that could be useful at alternate care sites.
Our emergency department team was the clinical team to leave the hospital, staying open as long as possible, while others were planning the opening of a triage clinic at the fire operations’ base camp to help meet the medical needs of the thousands of personnel fighting the fire in our own backyard.
And, after the smoke cleared, the hospital reopened as soon as possible — thanks to the physicians and staff wanting to stand side-by-side with our returning community members, steadfast in their dedication to caring for your health needs.
Our town, in its entirety, felt the weight of the risk the Caldor Fire posed. And there are so many examples of ‘community’ emerging from its wake. People showcasing what it means to serve others: neighbors checking on neighbors, animal control officers helping pets and wildlife, and hospital employees evacuating their families to safety and then returning to staff medical clinics.
I am so thankful our homes were spared from the Caldor Fire, and equally thankful to be a member of a true community.
Clint Purvance is CEO for Barton Health.
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