Lighting the Love While Rebuilding Emotionally

Kayla Beals, News Writer

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An assembly full of emotions took place in front of City Hall in the Sonoma Plaza on Sunday October 7th. The ceremony consisted of a bell tolling, moment of silence, and lighting of the LOVE sculpture created by Laura Kimpton and Jeff Schomberg. This celebration honored those affected by the 2017 Sonoma County Fires.

  During the emotional event at the Sonoma Plaza, Sonoma Valley Fire Chief Steve Akre admitted that, “When you gather together to recognize challenging and difficult moments, those same feelings from the past come back.” Akre expressed his admiration for “our community’s ability to come together and support one another” which was evident in Sunday’s event.

  The 45 minute event began at 7:00 p.m. with a welcoming from Sonoma Mayor, Rachel Hundley. She introduced Akre as well as the Fire Chief of the Schell Vista Fire Department, Ray Mulas.

 Both head Chiefs spoke about their experience of “supporting each other” and their community during the outbreak of the fires. Three other community members voluntarily discussed individual experiences; one read a personal poem related to the fires.

 Margie Maynard, director of exhibitions at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, introduced the exhibit and interacted with the artists of the LOVE sculpture. This piece of work not only represents community members affected by the fires, but also local artists who were impacted.

  Emotions were palpable as people huddled together during the moment of silence and speeches. Individuals began to file out as Maynard thanked the artists and City Council. Akre reported that the fire departments are continuing to prepare for any upcoming disasters that strike.

  The six foot tall steel structure, installed on September 14th 2018,   will be on display until January 6th 2019. The community is welcome to visit the structure and take pictures to honor the idea that the love in the air is thicker than the smoke.