On the 10th anniversary of the 2007 Witch Creek wildfires in San Diego, The San Diego Foundation President & CEO Kathlyn Mead invited two guests to share their inspiring stories about disaster preparedness, recovery and relief in the first Facebook Live episode of the Live WELL Hour with Real Talk San Diego, presented and hosted by The San Diego Foundation.

Our first guest, Jill Olen, is the Regional Program Director of Emergency Management for the U.S. Navy and former Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Public Safety and Homeland Security for the City of San Diego. Jill was on-scene commander for the Qualcomm Stadium mega-shelter during the October 2007 California wildfires as well as the La Jolla landslide. Jill also volunteers as Vice Chair on The San Diego Foundation Regional Disaster Fund Board.

Our second guest, Dustin Valette, is the chef and owner of Valette Restaurant in Healdsburg, California. While Healdsburg was spared from the recent fire devastation in Napa and Sonoma, CA, other neighboring communities were deeply impacted as the fires destroyed more than 245,000 acres of land. Dustin rallied his community and other local chefs to provide support the best way he knew how: by cooking.

During this episode of the Live WELL Hour, you will learn:

  • Why everyone should keep community foundations in mind when trying to support communities affected by a natural disaster or crises (view at minute 3:07)
  • Jill’s experience as Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Public Safety and Homeland Security for the City of San Diego during the 2007 Witch Creek wildfires, including setting up the Qualcomm Stadium mega-shelter (11:47)
  • Jill’s tips on how San Diego families can put a disaster plan in place (18:37)
  • How the Regional Disaster Fund Board decides where to distribute funds during and following a natural disaster (21:02)
  • How Dustin rallied his community and other local chefs to help first responders and evacuees during the recent fires in Northern California (25:34)
  • Dustin’s unique approach to helping nonprofits that has raised more than $1 million to support the initial stages of the Napa and Sonoma rebuild (30:45)
  • Why Dustin believes your skillset is the most important thing to offer to help communities stricken by natural disasters (39:24)

Live WELL San Diego

The Live WELL Hour hosted by The San Diego Foundation on Real Talk San Diego is a monthly Facebook Live series.

With Kathlyn Mead as the host, the series features real conversations about community challenges and opportunities affecting the San Diego region. It engages experts in dialogue about ways we can make San Diego a better place to Work, Enjoy, Live and Learn.

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