Dennis Drawsky Fire Recovery

My father was born and raised on our family farm, the 'Chicken Ranch', on Franz Valley School road, in Sonoma County near Calistoga. The farm has been in the family for over a hundred years. He and his sisters were the second generation to be raised there. His mother was raised there also. As a young child, she walked down the road a mile to the single room school house. My name is Robert Drawsky, I lived on the ranch as a child and my two sons also lived on the ranch in their early years. I currently live in Santa Rosa, CA.

My dad moved back to the family property 20 years ago. One of his goals was to guide the transition of the ranch ownership as his parents aged. He had a vision that the ranch could act as a rallying point for the future extended family. He wanted future generations to experience the sense of family history.

Approaching retirement, he had been investing in making the ranch a fun place to be. He converted part of an old barn into a giant 'play room'. The room was large, with a thirty foot ceiling topped by a steel roof. There was a pool table, ping pong, darts, foosball, a large theater screen. Photos and art hung on the old, wooden barn walls. He had a one of a kind boat parked in there.

A corner of the room was a photo studio with lights, and back drops. He is an amateur photographer with serious digital dark room skills. He is a Mac guy.

My dad is a collector. For many years he collected old bottles. More recently , he collected guns and old cameras . My dad likes cool things with history.

He lost everything. Most of the structures were uninsurable as they were non-conforming structures built some time ago.

We will have to create a new history. I am not sure how to do that. Maybe we can do it with help. Maybe the the ranch can still act as a rallying point in its rebuilding.

If you want to help with our reconstruction, please let me know. The neighbors helped build the ranch, that's how things worked back then. One person was good with carpentry, or cement , or electricity.. Another person had equipment. People pitched in with what they could and everybody moved ahead.

Things are different now. All the neighbors properties are destroyed too. Maybe it's not different; maybe we just need a larger community this time.

If you want to help, let me know. There is so much to do. Besides the massive clean up ahead, there is construction needed. I want to plant trees. I want it to be beautiful and unique again. I want it to be a place where my dad wants to live and our family wants to visit.

My dad and his family --he has a 17 year old daughter about to start college -- need everything. I'm asking for money because he needs it, but if you can help in other ways, he needs that too. All the money will be given to my father to help him get back on his feet  -- the priority being getting him a place to live  back on the ranch.  For the moment, I will collect the money in my account and give it to him as soon as I can.  He will have direct access to the campaign funds mangement when he is ready and wants to do so.

That rake was from fighting the 1964 fire. My dad, 14 years old, staid and fought the fire with my grandfather. I am so grateful that my dad did not stay this time, though he badly wanted to.

This was the house above the pond that my grandparents lived in.
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Rob Drawsky 
Santa Rosa, CA
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