Hope and healing: A day of remembrance for employees and community members of Paradise

Hundreds of former employees and community members gathered for a Camp Fire Day of Remembrance in Paradise, California, on November 9, 2019.

by Jill Kinney

The devastation of the Camp Fire ravaged the Paradise community and adjacent areas a little over one year ago, causing residents to flee and businesses, including Adventist Health Feather River, to close. While much has happened in the ensuing year, it seemed fitting to pause for a Day of Remembrance. It was an opportunity for friends, family, colleagues, and community members to join together to reflect on Adventist Health Feather River’s history, legacy of healing, and specifically the acts of heroism that occurred during Camp Fire.
The day started with a worship service featuring keynote speaker Alex Bryan, mission identity executive at Adventist Health, who provided heartfelt words of wisdom and healing. Other guest speakers included Scott Reiner, chief executive officer of Adventist Health; Congressman Doug LaMalfa; Senator Jim Nielsen; Assemblyman James Gallagher; Wayne Ferch, president of Central California Region, Adventist Health; Rick Rawson, president of Adventist Health and Rideout; and Ryan Ashlock, operations executive, Adventist Health Castle. Each brought a different perspective on Adventist Health Feather River’s journey of heritage, healing, and hope.
“Paradise will never be the same place it was, but a new version of this community will emerge,” commented Scott Reiner. “Adventist Health has been living our mission of inspiring health, wholeness, and hope in Paradise and throughout Butte County for nearly 60 years and remains committed to continuing this legacy for generations to come.”
At the afternoon gathering, held at Adventist Health Feather River campus, hundreds of people were able to reconnect with colleagues and friends, participate in self-guided reflection, and stop by interactive stations—including a reflection pond, surrounded by flowers, representing all of the patients who got out safely because of the heroic efforts of the brave employees of Adventist Health. Other stations included a prayer garden, an interactive art station, and an overlook area where one could reflect on the ravaged destruction below.
It was a day to be remembered by all who attended. It reaffirmed how special the people are at Adventist Health and how firmly rooted they are in their faith and their principles, which extend beyond the boundaries of medical care. The employees and community members showed enormous dedication to each other and to those most in need. It was a day of healing in the truest sense of the word.
For those who couldn’t attend the worship service or attend the day’s event, images and the service can be viewed at AdventistHealth.org/RemembranceDay.