In appreciation of first responders nationwide, the United States Postal Service on Friday released the “Honoring First Responders Forever” postage stamp, a commemorative stamp depicting three profiles of a firefighter, police officer, and paramedic in action. In Montecito, the unveiling prompted a special dedication ceremony for the efforts of public safety heroes during the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow.

In attendance were Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Eric Peterson and Montecito Fire Chief Chip Hickman, among others. Also in attendance were volunteers from the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade, whose founder, Abe Powell, was one of three main speakers and who coined the Brigade’s ongoing recovery efforts as a “second response team.”

Oprah Winfrey, a Montecito resident, was also in attendance, and gave a moving keynote speech, thanking first responders for their “sheer exhaustion working for us” and for “listening for that cry, for a cough or a moan, or just a breath of hope” amongst the rubble left by the debris flow.

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