CARPINTERIA, Calif. – The biggest fundraiser of the year for first responders in Santa Barbara County brought thousands out Friday to raise money for wellness needs and special gear.
The One805 Live event took place on the sprawling ocean bluff Carpinteria Valley estate of actor Kevin Costner.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said, "When disaster strikes, the group of people that you see up on this stage become one team. A team of teams, that works together to mitigate that disaster, to save people, to salvage property. And the community always steps up and supports us. But in between those events, memories fade, and sometimes people forget, but One805 does not forget."
Brown reminded the audience the unique fundraising non-profit began after the 2018 Montecito debris flow. He said they have continued it up until this day with "event, after event, after event that raises awareness and raises money for this wonderful cause."
The money raised will help first responders with "some of the most sophisticated public safety equipment in the world," said Brown.
After that message, Brown was backed up with supportive comments from Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig. The stage was lined with fire and law enforcement leaders countywide.
Hartwig said firefighters are getting the best care now with support groups, "because of what you are doing here tonight!"
He also said a new dispatch center is under construction and when it is done, "you're going to receive the closest resource from whatever agency is there and from whatever they have available to you."
A special awards ceremony took place with presentations made by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, surprise guests for the audience who were not told of the Royal couple's appearance prior to the event. The honorees for the Heart of the Community Awards were Alexa Fullerton who offers her Rincon beach home for first responders and a family-time program, Adam McCaig who heads the all volunteer Adam's Angels non-profit helping seniors and the homeless in need, and Costner who has donated his property twice for the One805 event.
All were on hand to receive their honors. Costner said he is often asked what he paid for the property and while he didn't give the cost, he said, "on a day like today it's worth every penny!" He said the event was to celebrate people you may never meet, "the ones who are the first to rush in."
The evening was punctuated with special highlights including legendary talk show host Oprah Winfrey, a nearby resident, bringing up firefighter Sam Dudley and his therapy dog Rhonda. She interviewed Dudley about his career as a firefighter and his rescue efforts with firefighters on January 9, 2018 during the deadly Montecito mudflow. Dudley described the emotional day it was, and the emotional toll afterwards that required special therapy, similar to what One805 is funding. His comments brought out loud cheers of support from the crowd, many of them right up to the front of the stage.
Dudley said, "I saw things that I will never forget." His voice cracked when he said, he saw "children that are both here with us today and some that aren't." He recalled calling his wife Erica and said "I just had the worst morning of my life." He said working as a team to save people and bringing them out of the mudflow was "so special."
The images were "on a loop in my head every day," said Dudley. He went on to describe the services that helped him and others through One805 and the fundraising efforts of the community.
The site had special VIP-style areas with cabana's, seating, tables, food and beverages. The general admission area was for spectators standing or who brought chairs and blankets.
The event was hosted by organizers Kirsten Weston-Smith, Richard Weston-Smith and John Thyne from One805.
For those attending it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it was happening close to home. "Very awesome. Very fun to be here. It is special. Everyone comes together when it is important and tonight is another rally call and we are here," said resident Allen Levy.
Nearby, talking about the emergency responders in the area, and recalling the 2018 disaster, Cris Basimah said, "I'm very touched with all the response that we had."
Resident Jerry Smith said "I have friends who are first responders. This is the most wonderful thing people can do for other people. I can't say enough about it."
Prior to the show large donations were made to One805 including a gift of $150,000 from Direct Relief, $100,00 donation from Yardi and $75,000 from the Jean Perkins Foundation for a direct purpose of open-water and back-country rescue equipment.
“This fits perfectly with our goal of trying to fund resources that can be used across the entire county, and benefit all our citizens, from Carpinteria in the south to Santa Maria in the North,” said Thyne.
One805 released the host and talent prior to the show that included talk-show hose and comedian Ellen DeGeneres, John Fogerty from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Santa Barbara’s own Dishwalla, Alan Parsons OBE, David Pack (Ambrosia), Elliott Easton (Cars) andJeff “Skunk” Baxter (Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan).
Steve Postell & the Night Train Music Club comprised of: Steve Postell: guitar/vocals (David Crosby, The Immediate Family, John Oates, Jennifer Warnes),Tariqh Akoni: guitar/vocals (Stevie Wonder, Josh Groban, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguilera), Bob Glaub: bass (Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan), John Ferraro: drums (Larry Carlton, George Benson, Barry Manilow, Linda Ronstadt), Russ Irwin: keyboards, vocals (Sting, Aerosmith, Bryan Adams, Foreigner), Sean Holt: sax, percussion, vocals (Carlos Santana, Kenny Loggins, The Neville Brothers, Michael McDonald), Lara Johnston: vocals (Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Doobie Brothers) .
The hosts and some of the attendees spent quality time together to talk about the cause, the event and enjoy a rare social setting together.
For more information go to : One805
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