Oak View resident Julia Hornbeck has spent the past year doing an incredible deed: making sure that each Thomas Fire first responder is thanked through a handmade card.
“It’s been a continuous effort and I spent a year doing whatever I needed to do to get it done,” Hornbeck said. “The reaction [from first responders] I think is going to be great.”
Hornbeck and her family evacuated their home the day after the Thomas Fire started on Dec. 5, 2017. She said they were fortunate that their home was not directly in the line of fire and returned to it unscathed. After reading the bravery and heroism the firefighters went through on various Thomas Fire Facebook pages, she decided to thank the firemen by creating the Thank You Cards for First Responders project.
“I feel a connection to the firefighters, they have done so many great things,” Hornbeck said. “One of my friends, Daylin Dettenmayer, had also posted the thank you card idea. It’s been a group effort.”
Hornbeck partnered with local businesses, event organizers, churches, schools and teachers to host thank you card writing pop-ups. She obtained a list of individual agencies, departments and stations that helped during the Thomas Fire through the California Office of Emergency Services, which added up to about 1,000. To date, Hornbeck has collected more than 700 cards.
“My goal is to collect 1,000 cards and send out one card each to all of the individual agencies who came to help,” Hornbeck said.
Hornbeck said the $5 minimum donation on her GoFundMe page will allow her to mail out 10 letters. All of the money received will go directly towards postage. In total, it will cost $550 to mail out 1,000 cards and is hoping to mail them out by February.
“I understand that what they do is their everyday job and getting a card from a kid that said, ‘You saved my grandmother’s house,’ is really going to instill in them how grateful the community is that they live and work in,” Hornbeck said. “We appreciate what they do.”
To donate to the Thomas Fire First Responders Thank You Cards project, visit www.gofundme.com/ThomasFireTY. To write a card for a First Responder, contact Julia Hornbeck via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ThomasfireTY/.