ROHNERT PARK (KPIX 5) – While many people lost their home in the Wine Country wildfires, a large number of North Bay residents lost their jobs too.
A job fair held in Rohnert Park Tuesday had such a big turnout, organizers had to turn away prospective employers.
Helen Tucker is one of thousands of Sonoma County survivors who have had to adjust professional expectations after the fires.
She used to work in real estate, but many of the homes she aimed to sell have been taken by fire.
“For right now, I’ve got to put food on the table,” said Tucker. “The neighborhood I target for my business — Coffey Park, which is also the neighborhood I live in — no longer exists.”
Tucker says she’s lucky. She owns what she calls a “miracle home” that’s somehow still standing, but she’s surrounded by devastation and now out of a job.
“It’s incredibly hard to be there,” said Trucker.
Kevin Wodlinger of the North Bay Job Fair Committee helped organize this last-minute job fair when he learned more than 3,000 people in Sonoma County filed for unemployment days after the fires hit.
“Our job is to help rebuild Sonoma County one job at a time,” said Wodlinger. “The fires out, the debris is being removed and this is just one step to getting back to the new normal.”
Those who are out of work say events like this are the nudge they need.
“Seeing a lot of people looking for employees has me hopeful,” said unemployed Sonoma County resident Ross Mathis.
Former real estate agent Tucker also remained optimistic.
“I’m a survivor and a thriver, so something good will come of this,” said Tucker. “Something good always comes of such ugliness and sadness something always good.”