Letters to the Editor
Thank you, neighbors! Kenwood is the BEST!From the bottom of our hearts we want to thank Pamela and John Graziano, our amazing neighbors who bravely stayed behind to protect their home and assets during this past devastating firestorm. They put out spot fires on their property in addition to adjoining neighbor’s properties throughout the night, lapsing into the following several days. Pamela and John took great care of our cats, chickens, rabbits, doves and pigeons, feeding and watering them daily. This allowed all of our livestock to survive the fires and smoke. Besides our Rose Ranch stock, Pamela and John also cared for other neighbors’ animals as well. John, on his green Gator, rounding the neighborhood handing out water and gas to those in need of it, always helping. The patrolling U.S. Marshall pulled John over one of those days and said to him, “You’re the green Gator guy aren’t you? Another address further up Adobe Canyon needs their chickens fed and watered as well. Can you do that, please?” John was even asked to feed some neighbor’s parrots. Pamela and John, you are to be commended for your “beyond the call of duty” performance. We love you very much and can never thank you enough!
P.S. Kenwood Fire Department is smokin’ awesome!
P.S.S. Swede’s Feeds, thanks so much for allowing us access to your yard for feed!
Colleen and Steve Rose
So much gratitudeWhen we saw the fire was at Lawndale and Keiser, we expected our house would burn. When a neighbor called on Tuesday to say our propane tank (or something) exploded, we knew our house would burn.
It’s still there. It’s there because of some remarkable friends and neighbors. Let’s start with Paul and Max Kruzic and Karl Mondon, who raked away anything combustible from the house, and from the fences. Paul and Max also managed to rig up a pump to distribute pool water across a minefield of hotspots. Karl put out a spot fire (after taking a nice photo of it that ended up on the cover of the UK’s Daily Mail). We’ve come to understand more recently that others chipped in too – the Bradshaws, the Chandlers, Ben down the road. Then of course there were the firefighters who somehow got to the house in time on Tuesday, after the cars exploded and the shed ignited and all of this so close to the house, but yet it stands.
More heroic still were Mercedes, Julius, Martha, Linda, and her unnamed friend. Sunday night, with the Treehaven neighborhood on fire, they rescued my 88-year-old mother and all the other clients from the Treehaven Estate convalescent home.
And our own evacuation was helped along by a phone call from our amazing friend Eileen Vukicevich, and the courageous sheriff who was risking his life driving to houses on our dead-end road with an active fire in sight nearby.
We are so grateful to all of you.
Chris and Christine Lee
Thoughts on the fireThe phone rang several times, but I went to bed exhausted after the Glen Ellen Village Fair. Once a year I sell jewelry to promote my sister’s Guatemalan charity, and the fair was delightful. Fun to see the new faces and the people who come to the fair every year, a perfect way to spend Sunday afternoon in our hometown. That night, the cat dived on our bed meowing loudly, reacting as branches, acorns, and flying debris struck our house. Half asleep with the wind bearing down, I realized the electricity was off and I scrambled down the hall to grab the phone. “There’s a fire! Get out!” my neighbor ordered.
The wind on our hill was oven-hot. Toward Kenwood, a red glow filled the air, almost like a sunset. We looked out the back door and saw an ominous sight, Glen Ellen appeared to be in flames. Just then another neighbor drove up our hill, “Go on Bennett Valley. Don’t go through Kenwood or Glen Ellen.” In total darkness, we decided what to take, what to leave. We were not prepared for this. We captured our cat, took a few clothes, and a picture of my recently departed mom. Dave got the “brains” of our computer and the phone chargers. I took a last look at our sweet home, the plants that needed water, the front porch swing that needed paint, the wonderful place where we hoped we’d be forever. On our way out, we, too, knocked on our neighbor’s doors, telling them the same message.
The story the fire left behind is heartbreaking, the losses are too big to count. We didn’t lose our home; miracles do happen. To our wonderful neighbors, we are grateful. To our firefighters, a thousand thanks. To our community, we can and will help! To our county, Sonoma Strong!
Warm Springs Road
Small, local businesses need your support more than everHello neighbors,
We are now part of a club we never wanted to join. The “What Is Life Going To Be Like After The Fire Club” is gaining membership each hour after this hellish October disaster. Those of us who live or work in Sonoma Valley are especially invested in making this club thrive in a positive way. I hear stories everywhere I go these days. We all do. PTSD dulls my senses and sometimes my joy disappears. Then one special hug from a fellow business owner, a courtesy when driving by a motorist, a message through Facebook of hope and determination crosses my path. I am reminded just how much good there is in this world.
Now that the roads are open and our schedules try to normalize, I see that it took a village to make Glen Ellen and Kenwood magical in the first place, and it is going to take those same villagers to soothe, hug, support, and encourage those in need. I know this will be a long-haul struggle but together we can make the load a bit lighter and the pain of loss a little less intense.
At the end of November the nation celebrates “Small Business Saturday” organized by American Express. Every year this promotion is brought to the spotlight to nudge and remind folks to support local small businesses with continued patronage and loyalty. I am planning a huge event for Glen Ellen with the help of American Express. More information will follow, but if you have a small business and would like to participate in this one-day joint promotional event please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to see all of the small mom and pop shops, markets, restaurants, lodging, wine tasting rooms etc. come together to stand up tall and proud to be privileged to have our businesses located in this love-filled area of Sonoma County.
And I have another request to throw out there. Losing almost a month of revenue due to these fires has put many of us in the intense worry zone as we try to project how we can recover the lost revenue the fire has caused. Our store is so small that this is almost a terminal blow. Please remember to come by and show your support to any of us who have our doors opened from now until the end of the year. We need every one of you to come and share your hugs and purchasing power with all of us. We need you! It takes a village!
Love and light to all of you,
Kay Young and Jordan Celso
Hopscotch Gifts & Gallery
Jack London Village