Saturday, February 17 , 2018, 10:10 pm | Fair 47º



David Kim: Santa Barbara Strong

Our beloved Santa Barbara and Ventura counties have endured an unrelenting few weeks.

The Thomas Fire started in Santa Paula on Dec. 4 and quickly wreaked havoc throughout Ventura County. Many homes were lost. People were displaced.

But the Ventura, Ojai and Santa Barbara communities came together to help and support those in need.

Many of the local real estate offices collected much-needed supplies, like food, water, clothing, baby items, etc. So much so that the Red Cross started turning down donations because they were maxed out.

The Santa Barbara Association of Realtors collected work clothing to donate to fellow Realtors who lost everything, yet still needed to show up to work and meet with clients.

The Realtor community, in collaboration with the Ventura County Coastal Association, also began compiling rental listings to accommodate those in need of housing. Visit the VCAA Facebook Page for details.

Just when it looked like things were getting better, the winds literally turned for the worst. This last weekend, the Thomas Fire moved dangerously close to homes in Montecito, encroaching on the boundaries of the San Ysidro Ranch and Westmont College.

Unfortunately, several homes in Montecito were lost. The fire then spread into the city of Santa Barbara, leading to evacuations of thousands of residents. My family was in a voluntary evacuation area, and we heeded the warnings, and packed up the car and left town.

Throughout this tumultuous ordeal, I was very worried, no doubt. I have experienced several large fires in the 20 years of living here, but the Thomas Fire seemed especially worrisome to me.

Despite all the stress and worry, I witnessed profound strength, bravery, organization and unity. Our firefighters are truly superheroes, and we are lucky to have some of the best here in Santa Barbara.

They went toe-to-toe with this Goliath of a fire, and it's amazing how little loss occurred as a result.

Of course, our deepest condolences go to the family of Cory Iverson, who gave his life fighting this fire. Here is a GoFundMe link to help his pregnant wife, and 2-year-old daughter:

It was remarkable to see how coordinated and organized efforts were by the community and those on the front lines. Hats off to all the news outlets who continued nonstop coverage and information for concerned residents.

At a time when we're immersed in so much political divisiveness and discord, it was truly a beautiful thing to see our communities come together and support and lift each other up.

As a result of the Thomas Fire, many local businesses have been suffering during a time when they heavily rely on an uptick in holiday business. Please consider this as you do your holiday shopping.

Shop local. Eat local. Spend local. Enjoy local.

I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday week. Let's continue to support and help each other this holiday season. #SantaBarbaraStrong

— David Kim is a licensed real estate broker with Village Properties and the 2017 president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact him at [email protected] or 805-296-0662. The opinions expressed are his own.

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