A “Thank you first responders” sign went missing from Keven Rittner’s yard on Tuesday, months after the Montecito mudslide, his family survived with the help of heroic firefighters.
It was stolen after someone complained about the sign to the Montecito Fire Dept.
Rittner is not taking the stolen sign lightly. He spent part of the day measuring the area for a new sign that will be hung from trees along Jameson Lane, near Olive Mill and Coast Village Roads and the Montecito Inn.
“I’m putting another one up, I heard enough from other first responders and fireman that it is a big part of their day and I’ll put another one up and hopefully that inspires that person to maybe think twice and come talk to me about it, ” said Rittner.
First responders didn’t just save him, they saved his wife and their newborn boy and their other son. They also saved his in-law who was visiting to see the baby.
They lived in a voluntary evacuation zone and had just returned from another Thomas Fire evacuation when the debris flow began early Jan. 9.
“The sign is a part of my healing and it is a part of me trying to give something to the guys that pulled us out of our house and heal them too, ” said Rittner.
Battalion Chief Aaron Briner liked seeing the sign, too.
“I actually drive by that way on my way to work every morning and it personally makes me feel good it is part of my healing process, too,” said Briner.
When Rittner shared what happened on social media Santa Barbara Signs and Graphics offered to make him a new sign for free.
He said he will consider taking the new one down on the anniversary of the deadly disaster in Montecito.