At Ceremony in Montecito, Oprah Helps Unveil New Forever Stamp Honoring First Responders

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Oprah Winfrey  paid tribute to first responders during the presentation of a  new commemorative stamp at the Montecito Fire Department on Friday.

The U.S. Postal Service released the "Honoring First Responders" forever stamp on Thursday in recognition of firefighters, law enforcement officers and other emergency personnel across the country. It was first revealed at an event at Missoula, Montana, home to the largest facility that trains crews in battling wildfires at national forests, according to the agency.

Artist Brian Stauffer created the illustration with help from designers Antoio Alcalá and Ricky Altizer, USPS said.

A second unveiling ceremony was held at Montecito, where officials commended the work of emergency workers during the Thomas Fire and the mudslides that followed.

Addressing the first responders in the crowd, Winfrey, whose home was affected by the mudslides in January, said the stamp symbolized their spirit.

"Each of you represents the best of us," she said. "You represent the rising of courage, the rising of honor, the rising of compassion, endurance, survival and thriving."

The Thomas Fire broke out in December 2017 and scorched about 440 square miles in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Authorities declared the blaze officially out nearly six months after it started, becoming the largest fire recorded in state history until the Mendocino Complex Fire surpassed its size in August.

The Thomas Fire claimed two lives, and a January storm that brought mudflow to the fire-ravaged Montecito area left 21 more people dead.

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