On Sunday November 12, 2017, I was honored to be a co-host, along with Dr. Joon Yun, President of Palo Alto Investors, Tess Wallace and Rich Aurilia, former All-Star SF Giants Shortstop, of what will long be remembered as a fantastic “First Responder’s Heroes Brunch”, honoring the firefighters, police, paramedics and volunteers who lost their homes and all their personal belongings in the recent fires while fighting to save ours.
The celebration was held at Marc Kaye’s fabulous estate in Calistoga. The towering ceilings and huge entertainment rooms opening out to the vineyards made it the perfect location to accommodate roughly 125 people. Silicon Valley, Napa and Sonoma Valley giants united to honor and pay tribute to our first responders and personally thank them for their heroic efforts.
The absolutely fabulous Freddy Clarke and his incredibly talented nine-piece band set the tone for the day as guests arrived and vintners set up their pouring stations. The beautiful Kate Swee greeted guests wearing her 12 foot-high champagne skirt holding 120 glasses of 2007 Pierre Morlet French Champagne, as the Oyster Girls meandered through the crowd offering caviar and shucking oysters. The mood was magical.
I don’t think I will ever be at another celebration where that many cult wines were being poured. A special thank you to the following winery owners who graciously donated and poured their extraordinary wines: Scarecrow, Ghost Horse, Morlet Family Vineyards, Pierre Morlet Champagne, Hourglass, Realm, Skipstone, Vineyard 29, Shafer, VGS Chateau Potelle, Tor, Tusk, Red Stitch, Darioush, Ashes & Diamonds, Kosta Brown, Schramsberg, Constant Diamond Mountain, Alden Alli, Castello di Amorosa, Chappellet, Gandona, Chateau Montelena, Grgich, Aubern James, Dakota Shy and Brasswood.
The food was amazing and flawless. We are so grateful for the generosity of Oak Avenue Catering, The Oyster Girls, Ken Frank/La Toque, Chef Massimo of SolBar, Trifecta, Cooks Sushi, Cuisine by Lela, Blossom Catering, Brasswood Catering and Soo Yuan Restaurant. Sincere thanks to the Oak Avenue catering team led by Adam Ryan, and Bright Event Rentals for your generosity and support.
A special guest appearance by John Fogarty and his band who stole the day and had the crowd up dancing to 5 of his top hits. The wonderfully talented Philip Claypool was our closing performer.
A special thank you to Deepak Chopra and Von Miller, Super Bowl MVP for your video messages to our guests and first responders, and to Dr. Joon Yun and his team at Palo Alto Institute for the video you produced capturing the horrors of the raging fires and first responders memories of them.
Congressman Mike Thompson took to the Mic and recounted the losses: 42 lives lost – the deadliest in the state’s history, over one billion dollars in losses, 8,400 structures and 160,000 acres burned. Guests gave a rousing applause to our first responders in attendance: Gino Degraffenreid – Battalion Chief Cal-Fire; Tony Gossner – Santa Rosa Fire Chief; Hank Schreeder – Chief of Santa Rosa Police; Loren Davis – Chief of Mountain Volunteer Fire Department; Mike Palacio – Captain CHP; Robert Powers – CHP Officer and Clint St. Martin, Mountain Volunteer Firefighter who lost his home.
Support First Responder’s Heroes Brunch
Representatives from The Santa Rosa Squad Club and the California Fire Foundation gave summaries of their Non-profit 501(c)3 organizations that raise funds for first responders and their families. I urge you to go online and support the more than 40 first responders who lost everything, and continue the generosity that started with those that gathered for the First Responder’s Heroes Brunch.