Why We Still Dig

By John Powell   |   September 13, 2018

Since the debris flow of January 9, 21 of the 23 victims have been found but, sadly, two have not. Lydia Sutthithepa and John “Jack” Cantin are still missing. The search for Jack and Lydia lies at the heart of our community’s quest for closure after this horrible tragedy.

Looking for Montecito’s lost children is not something we talk about a lot at the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade, but it is something we have been quietly, persistently doing for the last eight months. Search and Rescue has searched valiantly, time and time again, to no avail. At this stage, bridges are being rebuilt and most of the mud has been cleaned up from homes and properties throughout the community. But not all of it.

And there lies the issue. Until we have completed the cleanup of the Montecito Creek corridor that took so many of our friends and neighbors from us on January 9, there is still a chance that we could find those kids. We are close, but we are not done, and we have not given up on finding Lydia and Jack.

We are committed to clearing all of the debris between Old Spanish Town and the ocean until the missing children have been found, or until the last pile of mud has been checked and cleared.

Clearing the debris also restores harmony to the community and shows resilience. Big piles of mud and damaged homes are a visible wound in our neighborhoods. This wound reminds everyone of the disaster and prevents the healing that we all need right now. There are so many reasons to get this mess cleaned up, and we are close to getting it done.

However, the machines and trucks needed to perform this work cost money, and many homeowners do not have the insurance coverage they need to deal with all the dirt that the debris flow deposited on their homes and property.

Please consider making a contribution to the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade to help us complete this work. We have received many generous donations this year, and we have put them to work helping to get this community back on its feet. We are literally down to the last mile in this cleanup and we can’t give up now.

Together, we can help these folks move forward, heal the visible wounds in our community, and complete the search for Jack and Lydia. In finishing this job, we will be affording the friends and families of the victims, and our whole community, some measure of peace.

We haven’t given up, and we know the people of this community haven’t either. Let’s pull together now and get this done.


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