10/18 Hanna Update

All boys and staff at Hanna are safe. Our campus was temporarily closed last week, but is intact and undamaged, and this week staff is back and we’re running on full power again.

It’s hard to believe it was just over a week ago that we were first hearing about wildfires breaking out in Napa and shortly thereafter in Sonoma Valley—so much has happened in that time. A quick chronology of events over the past week:

  • Monday, Oct. 9: We first learned about the rapidly advancing wildfires in Santa Rosa and the Sonoma Valley. That morning we evacuated all boys and staff to Sonoma Valley High School for the day, and began contacting Hanna parents to pick up their sons. Remaining boys and staff returned to campus that evening.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 10: All remaining boys were picked up or sent home. Our last staff evacuated later that day due to proximity of fires and smoke density. By the end of the day, 2700 structures had been destroyed in Sonoma and Napa counties.
  • Wednesday, Oct 11 through Friday, Oct 13:  Our campus remained closed, with key staff working from home. Most fires were still uncontained, but the closest active fires were about two miles from campus, so no immediate threat. We cancelled our Golf Classic, one of our major fundraising events, which was scheduled to be held at Silverado Country Club on Friday. By the weekend, 5700 area structures had been destroyed and nearly 100,000 people displaced.
  • Tuesday, Oct 17: By the beginning of this week fires were partially contained and air quality had returned to “moderate” status. Our staff returned to campus to assess any damage, begin clean-up efforts, and prepare our campus for return of boys.

While we’re stunned and saddened by the enormous loss of life and property among many of our neighbors and friends, we’re also taking a moment to express gratitude for the following:

  • At this point none of our staff or boys’ families have lost lives or homes, that we’re aware of.
  • Our campus is still intact with no fire or significant smoke damage, although we’ll be working over the next few days to replace air filters, remove spoiled food, clean surfaces and clothing, deodorize, etc.
  • The loving accommodation of Sonoma Valley High School last week inspired us to volunteer Hanna’s facilities to be used as a FEMA processing and resource site over the coming weeks.
  • The outpouring of support—donations, volunteered time, shared housing, etc.—by community members was truly overwhelming and inspiring. As one homemade sign aptly captured it: “The love in the air is thicker than the smoke.”

Your continued prayers and support of Hanna during these challenging times is crucial. If you are financially able, please consider making your gift today directly on our website or by sending your check to Hanna Center, 17000 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA  95476.

Thank you again for all you do for Hanna. Together we’re stronger!

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