Local Community Heroes

Stepping up to help others
Ryan Racz community
Ryan Racz

While many people have faced difficult challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the extraordinary efforts of others have made those challenges a bit easier to handle. In a world full of uncertainty, these local heroes have stepped up to help others, and we salute and thank them.

Distilling Hand Santizer

Soon after the pandemic began, Cris Steller, owner of Dry Diggings Distillery in El Dorado Hills, and his crew switched up production and began turning out batches of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, donating hundreds of gallons to first responders, nursing homes and organizations working with at-risk populations. “The community pulled together and allowed us to help others,” says Steller. “We needed 5-gallon buckets and glycerin, and people showed up at our door with them.” The distillery has a supply of hand sanitizer for sale and ongoing donations.

Making Protection

Jeff Wilcox community
Jeff Wilcox

Volunteers and staff at the El Dorado Hills Public Library responded to a shortage of face shields for health care workers by creating 3,000 of them using the library’s 3D printers and distributing them to regional health care providers, including Placerville’s Marshall Hospital. “COVID-19 halted many of our programs, but we’re continuing to serve the community and engage people,” says branch manager Jan Robbins, adding that volunteers have been learning online programs to connect with library patrons.

Feeding People and Nonprofits

John Sanders
John Sanders

John Sanders, owner and chef of Old Town Grill in Placerville, saw how the pandemic was challenging local nonprofits and their clients, so in March he and his staff began serving “Friday Night Curbside with a Cause” takeout dinners, channeling profits from the sale of meals to the needs of the local community. Recipients include Child Advocates of El Dorado County (CASA), Mother Lode Rehabilitation Enterprises, Inc. (MORE) and teens in crisis. “The way the community has supported these meals has been very humbling,” says Sanders. “This has been a calling. We want to help the community, keep our employees working, support local farms and still remain standing at the end. Together, we can make a difference. I just try to live love,” he adds.