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Oprah Winfrey inspires community to support first responders in Santa Barbara County

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The star studded One805Live Fundraiser at Kevin Costner’s estate in Summerland exceeded all expectations raising a million dollars.

“I think we did very very well at the event with … first of all the support from the community was extraordinary. Absolutely extraordinary," said CEO Kirsten Cavendish of One805.

One805Live is the largest fundraiser of its kind in the region helping underwrite the cost of emergency supplies for agencies that protect us across Santa Barbara County. 

It also provides crucial support for first responders like Sam Dudly who is still healing from the devastating Montecito mudslides in 2018.

“I was invited to attend because I’ve used some of the services at One805 … so I was able to go to the event … and meet people," said firefighter Sam Dudley of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

Sam met people including none other than Oprah Winfrey herself. 

"Hey hey hey hey hey! … We’re out on a Friday night! … Love it," said Oprah to the crowd during One805Live.

Oprah joined Sam onstage discussing how One805 supports mental health services for first responders.

“I often wonder .. what kind of person you have to be … to run into danger when the rest of us are running out," said Oprah to Sam as they chatted on stage.

Sam was one of the first firefighters to arrive on scene during the Thomas Fire mudslides, a disaster that changed his life forever.

“We made several rescues, two of which they had a lasting impact on me … one was a child that thankfully survived … and one that did not," said Sam.

Directors of One805 believe Oprah’s support to Sam raised the steaks for many that evening. 

“Oprah came onto the stage and was Oprah. Oprah is … I’d say the word empathy with a big E. And there was a silence in the middle of Sam’s story. And that silence said it all. The fact that he couldn’t keep saying anything. And Oprah said … that’s okay … and she put her hand on his shoulder," said Kavendish.

To this day, Sam continues to receiving mental health treatment thanks to One805.

“It was for sure probably the most difficult experiences I’ve ever been through. And no it’s not easy to forget. I’ll always remember it," said Sam.

Dudley said he hopes his story will inspire the community to continue supporting One805.

“Through One805 and the services I received … I was able to not constantly think about it. I’m able to be a good father be a good firefighter be a good husband," said Sam.

After the mega fundraiser with other celebrities including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the fundraising didn’t stop. 

The nonprofit organization has continued receiving thousands of dollars in the outpouring of community support from all over Southern California.

“We’re seeing an enormous love for the most hard working people in our community. Let’s face it. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be protected. But I’d it wasn’t for us they wouldn’t get the extra things they need from the state," said Cavendish.

Now, One805 is on a campaign to put more cash in the bank for future disasters.

“So we have to in the state … while we love living here … remember we need to be prepared," said Cavendish.

“The community expects us to be at our best … I expect myself to be at my best … and thanks to One805 … I can," said Sam.

Beyond the glitz and glamour, brave responders across Santa Barbara County are receiving all the support they deserve.  

Article Topic Follows: Be Mindful
Santa Barbara

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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.


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