• Oakmont's Response to the Tubbs Fire
  • Oakmont's Response to Tubbs Fire
  • Oakmont Senior Living's Response to Tubbs Fire
  • Oakmont's Response to Santa Rosa Fire
  • Oakmont's Response to the Fire in Santa Rosa

A Thank You To Our Selfless Employees.

As the entire nation watched our beloved community bracing for one of the worst fire-related disasters in modern memory, we saw truly selfless acts from our staff, first responders and residents that filled our hearts with hope. Our Oakmont Senior Living employees, in partnership with emergency officials, residents and their families, successfully evacuated over 400 residents living at our Santa Rosa properties. Many of our Oakmont residents, alongside first responders, also worked hard to alert their neighbors and ensure they were brought to safety. Our residents were in good hands as staff, first responders and fellow residents boarded them onto busses in the middle of the night and transported them to a safe evacuation site in the town of Santa Rosa.

Once all residents were accounted for, our employees drove many of them to other retirement communities in the greater Bay Area where they resided while repairs and restoration took place in the Fountaingrove area.

Our dedicated Oakmont employees – many of whom lost their own homes to the fires – have been working tirelessly to provide around-the-clock emotional support, lead engaging activities for our residents and ensure that all of their needs are met during this trying time. We are so thankful for our employees’ and residents’ selfless acts in the face of the wildfires; their compassion, commitment and sacrifice continue to ensure the safety and well-being of Oakmont Senior Living’s residents.

This page is dedicated to thanking our employees and residents for their acts of selflessness in the face of the California wildfires. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed; we have received an outpouring of heartfelt phone calls, emails and handwritten thank you notes from families, residents and other Oakmont employees. We are sharing them not only with those who are mentioned in these communications, but with our entire network of Oakmont Senior Living employees. As an extension of our Oakmont Senior Living Family, we would like to share just a few of the notes, letters, and firsthand accounts with you.

A son-in-law’s story: (do your research – acquire perspective through knowledge)

For my mother-in-law, moving to Varenna 10 years ago was akin to going to heaven without dying.

It would take pages, and then more pages, and then more pages still, to fully enumerate the hourly, daily, weekly, monthly opportunities Varenna provides for its residents to nourish their lives physically, intellectually, spiritually, and socially. If you doubt this, do your research, and get real. Varenna is the infrastructure for engagement on every level that keeps oldsters active and vital. Are you interested in smashing to smithereens the normal attrition level of seniors at senior living facilities? Check out Varenna.

The confluence of “Diablo winds,” the state’s hottest summer on record (turning dry vegetation to tinder,) and a middle of the night surprise, turned Sunday October 8th into a massive firestorm that became among the worst in California’s history.

After my wife and I fled our own home with the explosion of Camp Newman cresting the hill to our west in flames and sparks as though the sun was rising in anger at 1:30 am that frightful Monday morning, and focused on Mom, we tried to access Varenna from both sides of Fountaingrove Parkway. The combination of State (highway patrol), County (Sheriff Department), and Santa Rosa City (Police) official chaos and dysfunction conspired to deny us, and to deny returning Varenna employees (which we witnessed) access to Varenna – “no way no how will we allow you up there, period.”

My wife and I shake our heads in admiration – how did you get all those complicatedly older people out alive? Absolutely heroic attitude and behavior. Thank you thank you Varenna management and staff!

Please use any part of this letter, and my over-a-decade of direct knowledge and experience that it represents, in any way you deem advisable.


Mr. Gladstein

PS – Bill and Cindy Gallaher are “salt of the earth” people, to their very essence and in the deepest meaning of the phrase. It pisses me off that people assume, suggest, or conclude otherwise.

Mr. Gladstein, Family Member of Resident (Varenna)

“We live at Varenna and would like you to know how much we appreciate the very professional and excellent way we were treated by your staff throughout the fire evacuation process. They were so helpful and kind during the entire six weeks. We really appreciated the daily meetings to keep us informed and to answer the many questions we all had concerning the status of Varenna and our impending return. Thank you all for everything you have done for us.”

Residents, Oakmont of Varenna

“My sister and I would like to commend the administration and staff of Villa Capri for the outstanding evacuation that happened early Monday morning. The fires in Santa Rosa were a horrendous event and it is amazing that everyone was saved. We are also grateful for the super attentive follow up care at Belmont Village. All the clients from Santa Rosa appear to be calm, and secure. It must be comforting for them to see so many familiar faces. Thank you for making that happen!”

LG and PLD, Family Member of Villa Capri Resident

“I wanted to thank you for your patience and personal attention in helping my mother evacuate from Varenna and to find her way from the Cottingtown Mall to the New Vintage church. It is quite amazing that you were able to program her car’s navigation system, which has always been a mystery to me!

I am glad she lives in a secure, safe place and feel that she is in good hands.

I read the online article on ABC7News.com about the Varenna evacuation and think that it missed the real story: that the management and employees of Varenna were personally helping the residents while their own families and homes were in danger.

Thank you again. I know my mother is looking forward to returning to her home in Varenna when the time comes”.

CG, Family Member of Varenna Resident

“We are grateful to the outstanding owners, management, and staff who were able to safely evacuate hundreds of residents the night of the firestorm. We know many of the staff lost their own homes that night. Our thoughts and thanks go out to all of them.”

Family Member of Resident, Oakmont of Varenna

“Just a note to let the management know that Michael Simpson and Joel were SO helpful on Friday. It is a pleasure to have them in the Varenna community. ”

JW, Family Member of Varenna Resident

“I know you’re all dealing with a chaotic situation, and I’m really impressed by the speed, detail, and thoroughness of all your team’s communications.”

Family Member of Resident, Oakmont of Varenna

“After putting in a request to staff, I got an email yesterday saying that my beloved plants were retrieved from my apartment. Thanks to all for helping us get through a completely unanticipated set of circumstances for which none of us could be prepared!”

RD, Oakmont of Varenna Resident

“Thank you to the entire Varenna team for the amazing job you’re all doing during this crisis. With gratitude for all your efforts to help and keep us informed.”

Daughter of Resident, Oakmont of Varenna

“You’re all doing a fantastic job!! Please take care and get some rest.”

Daughter of Resident, Oakmont of Varenna

“Thanks for your great communications on all this, and I hope the homes and families of everyone on the team at Oakmont are safe and secure.”

Son of Resident, Oakmont of Varenna

“Thank you to the entire Varenna team for the amazing job you’re all doing during this crisis. With gratitude for all your efforts to help and keep us informed.”

Daughter of Resident, Oakmont of Varenna

“Before anything else I have to comment on the excellent handling by first responders and staff both Sunday night during the evacuation and later at the church facility.  We were made comfortable and kept well informed.”

Resident, Oakmont of Villa Capri

“The response at Varenna was excellent by 1st responders, staff and even residents.  The generator did go on (I think it’s right below our bedroom) and there was emergency lighting in the hallways and in the lobby.  Name checks were made as we boarded the bus, again at the church and when we boarded the bus for Concord as well as leaving Concord.  I don’t know what else the staff could have done.  In my mind safety and evacuation was prime in everyone’s mind.”

Hank Simmons, Oakmont of Varenna Resident

“I am writing to thank you so much for the work you and your staff are doing to take care of the Varenna residents. My evacuated mother and I visited her friends in Concord yesterday and everyone was emphatic that they feel very well cared for.

I especially want to rebut the ABC news story which criticized staff response. My mothers account of that night – and my own experience in that firestorm – paints a desperate situation where you and your staff stayed calm and did everything you could to get residents out at a time when your own lives were at risk. The reporter should have articulated that your own family was running for their lives but you went to Varenna to save the lives of the residents. You are a hero and yesterday I could see the high regard the other residents have for you because of what you and your team did that night.”.

Carolyn Stark, Family Member of Varenna Resident

An Oakmont Caregiver loaded up my father and 2 other residents in her personal vehicle to evacuate them to safety. While in route the caregiver received a call from her children to let her know that their home was being evacuated and asking her to come home. The caregiver told her own family that “she is responsible for her residents and could not come home”. I cannot thank her enough, “what she did was nothing short of heroic”.

BR, Family Member of Villa Capri Resident

“Sometimes during a crisis, there is a tendency to feel like you’re working in a vacuum and no one notices what you’re doing. Not the case. You were fabulous, and I so appreciate all the little and big things you are doing while under enormous pressure. We were able to get our father’s hearing aid, medicine, wallet, etc. and your crew brought them to us down the hill. Please extend our gratitude to Nathan, Joel, Pouya, and the others to have all pitched in. Just having his hearing aides made our father cry.”

JS, Family Member of Varenna Resident

“I want to thank all of the employees and other residents who helped her out of the building on Monday morning. It was truly harrowing and is amazing that all got out ok. I am very grateful for your amazing accomplishment. Seeing your faces at New Vintage when I picked mom up revealed to me the great stress you were experiencing. I hope you are all recovering and are with family and loved ones.”

Family Member of Resident, Oakmont of Villa Capri

“I want to thank your excellent staff for the safe evacuation of my mom. I am so grateful to Charlotte, Esther and everyone who assisted with the transfer and settling into temporary abode. My sister Annie met up with you all in Albany, Mom was fine and happy, thank you, thank you!!!”

Family Member of Resident, Oakmont of Villa Capri

“Thank you for all you and your team are doing on behalf of the residents. We are immensely grateful and impressed with all you are doing. I hope you and your family are safe and well.”

Family Member of Resident, Oakmont of Varenna

“My folks lived at Villa Capri. They are both fine. I just wanted to echo your sentiments. The action of the Villa Capri staff during this fire was heroic and we are grateful for all that they did to save lives during this terrible event. I am so sorry to hear that you lost your home. It is unimaginable to me what you are going through.”

DM, Family Member of Villa Capri Resident

“It’s hard to believe that anyone would publish such a one-sided article as that in today’s PD. I am a Varenna resident and was involved in the evacuation on October 9th. Not only were residents taken care of at that time, but the staff continues to provide assistance on a daily basis. Considering some of the staff have lost their homes, their actions are commendable.”

MB, Oakmont of Varenna Resident

“In spite of their own hardships and personal well-being, the staff of Varenna performed magnificently in the immediate aftermath of the firestorm that drove residents from our homes on October 9th. We would especially like to thank Mika, Matt, Laura and Nathan for their outstanding efforts to make us feel safe and comfortable at the church facility and Michael, Paula and Jenny for their ongoing efforts to help us retrieve our essential belongings and keep us informed during our long wait to return to our homes.”

Resident, Oakmont of Varenna

“Please send me info on where I can send a donation. Debbie (Villa Capri) and the entire staff need much recognition. They saved my Mom’s life. I hope Oakmont finds an appropriate way to thank them and keeps all of them employed.”

EL, Family Member of Villa Capri Resident

Would you like to share your story?

We have heard from many residents, family members, and friends after the fires; but now it’s your turn. If you would like to share your story with us, please add your comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.

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