In the early morning hours of Monday, October 9, Sonoma County residents awoke to find themselves in the midst of a firestorm. Many had to immediately leave as flames engulfed their homes. And now, some have even lost their lives. I don’t believe we’ll know the full extent of these losses for some time yet, but I do know that through the support of our community, we will persevere and return to being the Sonoma County I’ve come to love.
To the many who have already contacted me asking how to help, thank you so much for your caring and concern. I have received hundreds of emails, texts and Facebook postings from our community college and higher education partners from throughout the state and across the country.
The situation at Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma County/Napa County is relentless and horrific. Much of the fire damage was near both of our Santa Rosa and Petaluma campuses. Thus far our campuses have been spared, but unfortunately, not our students and employees. At last count, over 200 students have lost their homes, as have more than 50 faculty, staff and administrators.
Our Foundation has pledged $100,000 to provide our students and employees some support. We know that these funds will quickly run out as more students and employees come forward to report their losses.
I am asking that you consider donating to help leverage our $100,000 pledge. You can donate online to the SRJC Fire Relief Fund at http://firerelief.santarosa.edu.
As I write to you on Thursday morning, the fires have not yet subsided and they continue spreading in some areas of the county. We are never going to be the same and yet I have a great sense of hope. Our community is resilient and generous. We have great resolve and we are not alone. Your concern and contribution will fuel our spirit and hope.
Thanks for being our allies, friends and supporters – #SRJCstrong, #SRJCfuerte!
Dr. Frank Chong
Santa Rosa Junior College