SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) — Since the wildfires started over two weeks ago, firefighters have been stretched thin all across Northern California.
“Long, long work shifts! Some of these guys,” International Association of Fire Fighters Union Rep, Thomas Moran said. “We normally start out with a 24, sometimes 48-hour work cycle. What happened this year is we were getting 72, 96-hour shifts, even longer.”
To show his appreciation for their hard work, Master BBQ Chef Jim Modesitt, with help from the Gary Sinise Foundation, has been feeding the exhausted first responders.
“They literally work their butts off so, I’m here to make sure they have a good meal at the end of the day,” Modesitt said.
Modesitt and his crew planned on Thursday to serve nearly a hundred meals across three counties to firefighters, CHP, Sonoma County Sheriffs — even the Henry One Rescue Helicopter crews who recently saved two firefighters from a burning ridge at night.
“We gotta be ready, whether it’s going to rescue somebody, helping out with evacuations, we have to be on our toes!” says Tactical Flight Officer, Chris Haas
Haas said all the Henry One crews appreciate the food, especially coming from a celebrity chef.
“That’s really neat that there’s people out there who get to positions in their lives like that, that are still thinking about the guys that are out doing the job that I do, that other firefighters, patrol deputies do, that we’re in their minds and they are willing to help us out.”
Since they started on Aug. 27, Modesitt and his crew from his restaurant Big Jim BBQ distributed more than a thousand gourmet meals, all funded by donations and a grant from the Gary Sinise Foundation.