August 7, 2018 | by Lisa Mattson

The Northern Sonoma County Firefighters recently presented John Jordan with its Honorary Firefighter of the Year award for 2018. This is an inaugural award created by Wine Country to the Rescue, a non-profit organization made up of the Healdsburg, Geyserville, Cloverdale and Knights Valley firefighters, who regularly work together to protect northern Sonoma County and share resources when it comes to education and equipment.

Four firefighters came to the winery on July 25 and gave John a commemorative fireman’s axe and plaque. Through the John Jordan Foundation, John has funded two major initiatives for local firefighters, including a two-year commitment to help them buy a special vehicle that carries firemen’s air packs and a compressor, so they can refill easily in the field. This year, the John Jordan Foundation helped the group purchase pre-fire attack maps. These maps are critical for training firefighters from outside the area on terrain, typography and landmarks.

fire truck at jordan winery

“We wanted to create a way to recognize our donors,” said Joe Stewart, captain of Geyserville Fire. “John has been our most generous donor, and we thought it would only be appropriate to make him the first honorary firefighter.”

Since the October 2017 wildfires, the John Jordan Foundation has worked to help the community both rebuild and maintain existing non-profit services vital to communities in the wake of a disaster. The foundation made an initial investment of $25,000 to the new Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation (SCGGF) Wildfire Relief Fund, assisting agriculture workers who lost their homes in the fires. The foundation is also helping build the new Santa Rosa Community Health Vista Campus, which was lost in the fires in Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove neighborhood and will reopen in 2019. (JJF also funded services at Santa Rosa Community Health’s new Dutton campus, which is serving the Vista campus patients during the rebuild.) Other charities include United Way’s Earn it, Keep it, Save it program, which provides free tax preparation service as a tool to help Bay Area residents become financially stable, and CTE (Career Technical Education) Foundation, which is focusing on increasing the construction and engineering career pathways to create a bigger work force for the rebuild effort. John and foundation director Lisa Wittke Schaffner also funded local schools to help meet the growing mental health challenges for students after the tragedy.

John Jordan accepting firefighter award
John Jordan accepting the Honorary Firefighter of the Year Award.

A significant portion of the proceeds from Jordan Winery fund the John Jordan Foundation, which supports programs that help disadvantaged youth and adults access the tools they need to excel personally and professionally.