I am so proud to be a Napan.
Internationally, we here in Napa are known for food and wine. Visitors come here to relax and enjoy our pace of life. It is truly a place where everything slows down just enough to be savored and enjoyed. And while I do love all of these things, this is not the source of my pride.
The Napa Valley understands community. Sure, we have our struggles, but for the most part, Napa cares.
Just a little over a week ago, at 3:20 a.m., our peaceful little valley was rocked by the largest earthquake in Northern California in 25 years. Historic buildings came crashing down. Homes and businesses were lost. Wine was destroyed by the barrel. Streets were torn apart and shut down. This was what was left:
Earthquakes are a reality of living in California. And misfortune happens everywhere. Yet, while the media focuses on these images of destruction, I will remember a different side of this earthquake.
I saw a society come together to take care of their own. An outpouring of community love and support for those families with members injured or lost. Businesses, halted by red and yellow tags donating their services to help their neighbors. Complimentary coffee and food set out on the sidewalks for workers, volunteers, and displaced residents. Acquaintances greeting each other with hugs, and strangers sharing a kind word. An overwhelming willingness to help Napa get back on its feet.
The phone calls started by 3:25 a.m. And twice as many text messages. Anyone who felt the earth move immediately reached out to determine the safety and needs of virtually everyone they knew in town. And it felt good. The entire community felt like family.
This past weekend was Labor Day. A huge tourist weekend in Napa, particularly since crush (the annual fall grape harvest) is already underway. Yes, it is a little early this year. Instead of bowing in defeat to Mother Nature, less than a week after it was brought to its knees, the Napa Valley flung open its doors to welcome guests. Actually, it went so far as to encourage people to come and visit. Obviously, there is still a lot of work to be done, but it is mind boggling to consider that just a couple of days later, Napa was up and running again.
The strength, generosity, resiliency and perseverance of the Napa Valley is immeasurable. I am so proud to be a Napan.
This is my hometown.