Families Whose Homes Were Saved From Fire Share Emotional Reunion with Prison Inmate Firefighters “The value of this program is it teaches people life skills that most of us take for granted but many of them came to prison without. They learn discipline and to show up on time, and some leadership. I hear from dozens of inmates that they are proud to help the community and pay the community back a little bit.” — Bill Sessa

Meg Storm : Oct 20, 2017 : Faithwire

(Santa Rosa, CA) — [Faithwire.com] As thousands of firefighters and first responders continue to battle blazes throughout California, residents in contained areas are starting to get a firsthand look at the destruction that besieged their communities. In the northern California town of Santa Rosa, evacuated families were given the all-clear to return home on Wednesday. Despite its close proximity to the deadly flames, Santa Rosa is largely intact thanks to the heroic work of California state prison inmates, who have been working overtime to contain the spread of fire and preserve property these last few weeks. (Photo Credit: Chris Smith/Press Democrat)

As the Press Democrat reported, orange-clad inmate-firefighters from the Washington Ridge Conservation Camp just east of Nevada City returned to Santa Rosa to welcome back those whose homes they had helped save the week prior. The team stood shoulder-to-shoulder as neighbors emotionally stopped to thank them for their service and share a hug.

“It reminded me of what happens after a soccer game,” resident Janet Condron said of the interaction. “It was therapeutic for both.”

The role of the inmate-firefighter is nothing new, though those assigned to the job have been working long, grueling hours to deal with this latest crop of blazes. According to CNN, low security risk inmates can apply for positions at one of the 43 adult conservation camps, or fire camps, jointly operated…

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