Times-Herald (Vallejo)

After the Fire USA CEO to be guest of Mike Thompson at State of the Union

- By Thomas Gase tgase@timesheral­donline.com

Last week Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, announced that the founder and CEO of After the Fire USA, Jennifer Gray Thompson, will be his guest for President Biden's State of the Union address today.

Gray Thompson, no relation to Mike, is a lifelong resident of Sonoma Valley. In the aftermath of the 2017 North Bay fires, she became executive director of Rebuild NorthBay Foundation (RNBF), a nonprofit organizati­on dedicated to helping our communitie­s rebuild and recover from fires.

In response to the Camp Fire of 2018, Gray Thompson and RNBF establishe­d After the Fire USA to help address megafires.

“I am honored to invite Jennifer Gray Thompson to represent our district and fire survivors at the State of the Union address,” said Thompson in a press release.

“Our district has been ground zero for some of California's worst wildfires, and the resilience of our communitie­s and those who lost their homes, businesses, and livelihood­s deserves recognitio­n. Ms. Gray Thompson is emblematic of the strength of our survivor community and has been instrument­al in helping fire survivors recover and rebuild. I look forward to welcoming Jennifer to Washington to uplift every survivor of wildfires.”

Gray Thompson said she is honored to be Thompson's guest.

“His leadership and dedication on challenges related to wildfire continue to make a difference in the lives of our district and extend far beyond to help all wildfire communitie­s recover. I am proud to partner with him to protect survivors,” said Gray Thompson.

As CEO of After the Fire USA, Gray Thompson created a Wildfire Resiliency Network to better prepare communitie­s for wildfires.

She has also implemente­d a Survivor Deployment Model for new fire survivor communitie­s to facilitate recovery and reconstruc­tion.

She has since worked with national organizati­ons to develop federal policies that support survivors and communitie­s affected by these megafires and those that may happen in the future.

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