Stephen Ellison

Napa Valley Concert Benefits Wildfire Victims, Thanks First Responders

Napa Valley hosted a day of music, food and wine Sunday to say thank you to first responders for their hard work during the wildfires.

More than a thousand people attended the free event called Wine Country Strong at the Lincoln Theater in Yountville.

Napa County Sheriff John Robertson had a front row seat.

"Everybody put their heart into it," he said about the first responders. "It’s definitely a calling. Some of those people acted without care for themselves, and they saved a lot of lives."

Organizers of the concert say they were inspired by what they witnessed in their communities.

"Forty-eight hours after the fires, we have wineries in both valleys, Napa and Sonoma, and I saw the community getting together and being really true heroes," said Jean-Charles Boisset, of the Boisset Collection. "I said we got to thank them."

Local wineries and businesses provided donations to make the concert possible, according to Sonia Tolbert of Festival Napa Valley.

"Watching the community come together during this tragedy has really been exceptional," she said.

For some, the concert served as a step toward healing. They shared stories of pulling together. Kevin Davis, of Sonoma County Animal Services, said it was "absolutely wonderful" to be acknowledged.

"We were out there doing anything we could do for the horses running down the road to everything else that was going on with the animals," he said.

A donation area was set up for disaster relief funds, and even though the event was free, the money piled up quickly. The concert was just part of a larger effort by Wine Country Strong to reach a goal of $100,000 in donations by Dec. 31.

Wildfires in Napa, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties burned more than 162,000 acres, killed 43 people and destroyed more than 8,900 structures.

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