It was Thanksgiving all over again for Glen Ellen last weekend, when over 300 people joined their friends for a gathering of grateful neighbors at Valley of the Moon Winery at Madrone Estate. The lunch, sponsored by the Glen Ellen Forum and hosted by the winery, was enjoyed on a spectacularly crisp golden fall day with the purpose of rebuilding connections within the town which was almost 25 percent demolished in the catastrophic dawn of Oct. 9.

Costco had donated 117 turkeys to fire victims and that formed the basis of the party. Barbecues were needed to cook these turkeys so Weber donated 30 huge barbecue kettles. Clover Sonoma donated dairy products, Trader Joe’s provided holiday cookies. Julie Atwood Events provided party materials, and Birite Food Service provided kitchen materials.

A raffle for fire victims distributed the donated Webers and the remaining turkeys. There was music, there was laughter, there was comradery. The outpouring of goodwill after the tragedy is uplifting.

The wine part of this beautiful event was organized by Dave MacDonald of the historic winery. Tasting room manager Debbie Timm and crew, along with the colorful Chef Sam Badolato, supervised the serving of wine, the mashing of potatoes and prepping vegetables, and provided a welcoming and gorgeous venue for this exciting event.

An important part of the event was the organizing of neighbors into an Emergency Preparedness Plan. Some residents feel they survived the tragedy by the skin of their teeth, that the firehouse siren should have been sounded, that there should have been other means to notify citizens of the evacuation.

So the Glen Ellen Forum is spearheading an Emergency Preparedness Plan involving neighborhood pods, improved communications systems, and coordination with local authorities. To this end, Larry Davis and Leslie Vaughn provided a large map of the vicinity to enable neighbors to connect in clusters for support and communication.

As Nick Brown, a local man who lived on bucolic Dunbar Road and lost everything, said over turkey and dressing, “This is what we do. We come together!” Onward Glen Ellen.