The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians hosted first responders from San Bernardino, Redlands, Highland, Yucaipa and Loma Linda at the Bear Springs Hotel Event Center for a special thank you brunch on Thursday, Jan. 23. In 2019, the nearest fire, police and paramedics were on-scene to face down threats from the Hillside, Old Water and Sandalwood Fires. These brave men and women are not only heroes here at home, but across the region as they jumped in to help with the 46, Hill and Tick fires among others.
To show their appreciation, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and San Manuel Casino treated first responders to breakfast burritos from local favorite Rosa Marias and a BBQ lunch provided by San Manuel Casino’s Just Barbeque. The gathering was an open house-style reception from 9 -2 p.m.
“We want to thank all of the first responders for always putting the Inland Empire community and the safety of its residents first,” said San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena. “It does not go unnoticed that these brave men and women sacrifice time with their families to protect ours.”
She concluded with a moment of silence for the three American firefighters who just recently lost their lives battling the wildfires in Australia.
Joining Chairwoman Valbuena was Business Committee Member Johnny Hernandez Jr. who also spoke on behalf of the Tribe during a noontime presentation. In attendance were Cal Fire, Redlands Fire, Yucaipa Fire, San Bernardino County Fire, US Forest Service, AMR, San Bernardino City Police Department, and the Central and Highland stations of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
This appreciation event comes on the heels of a $1.1 million donation made by San Manuel to fire relief efforts in late 2019. The donation helped support the California Fire Foundation, California Community Foundation, Kashia Band of Pomo Indians and Dry Creek Rancheria, Sonoma County Animal Services, Family Service Association of Redlands.