Russ & Nancy Klassen - Thomas Fire

$5,160 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 34 people in 2 months
Created December 13, 2017
Hi, my name is Kelly Duhs… I'm writing about my long time friend Nancy Klassen (Cheney) who I went to High School with in Simi Valley way back when…   
She and her husband,  Russ Klassen of close to 30 years have just lost all their possessions to the Thomas Fire within the wee hours of Thursday am, Dec 6th, 2017.
It has been DEVASTATING for them, and I know they need our help in order to recoop from this life changing tragedy.
Please, if you could find it in your heart to help them be able to literally "Rise from the Ashes", it would be EVER SO MUCH APPRECIATED!!!

Here's my friend Nancy's account of their misfortune:

We moved just this past July (2017) prior to my knee replacement surgery set for August 17th...

My husband, a 50 year resident of the Ojai Valley, Russell Klassen and I bought a comfortable sized Travel Trailer and placed it on a lot Russ secured as Operations Manager for a small water mutual in an East End Ojai Cyn.

While I was recovering from my surgery Russ built up his "workshop" in a 2nd trailer (his toy-hauler we already had) with all the tools of his trade so he'd be self sufficient up there tucked away as we were… 

He set-up a fenced in perimitter along with the appropriate utilities and built me a beautiful screened in porch & raised wood deck ~ thus this photo with the awesome view!

He had worked SO Hard besides his regular job to set up this site for the two if us so we would have a Wonderful out of the way home. 

Our goal has been to be in and around nature enjoying a calm surrounding providing time so I may heal from my ailments...

We were on a new adventure excited to enjoy each other & our animals in this less formal environment ~ out of the way ~ but still at home in Ojai...

Our Golden's Ace & Max had just began to feel at home again in their new environment…  And our Orange Tabby, Wilbur seemed to be quite happy with all the field mice at his disposal.

Damn it all, if our "New Home" burnt to the ground early Thursday morning (Dec 6th, 2017) taking many of our recent aspirations with it.

At least for now… 

I'm VERY SAD that we lost our new place and Russell's work-shop with all his tools & trailers.  His off-road buggy, many family heirlooms, his guns & gunsafe, his guitars and amplifiers, jewelry (more family heirlooms), the list of our losses to the fire just continues on & on…
(Yep, a loss of over $50,000 ~ "Uninsured". Intended to, but due to my recent hospitalization(s) and the short amount of time we had been there.  Neither one of us would have EVER dreamt a fire would have railroaded thru and taken our new home before we had the opportunity to have had it inspected by the insurance adjuster. 
Instead it was GONE in less than 6 months!)

It "was" Beautiful there ~ Our little piece of Heaven.

Russ and I plan to purchase another trailer and rebuild his workshop, including replacing all of his tools which were lost to the fire.

We have in mind (unconfirmed as of yet - too soon) another location to hopefully set a new, used, trailer on.  Time will tell… 

Our focus will definitely be rebuilding my husbands large & misc hand tools, supplies in order for him to be viable in his profession along with securing our new residence!

Thanks to EVERYONE for all your concern,  care, love & well wishes! 

Kelly here ~ Now I know there are probably  many,  many stories of loss out there, but I know Russ & Nancy have no parents (all 4 have passed years ago now), no dowry(ies)… and are basically at the mercy of those kind-hearted friends & loved ones out there who just might be able to assist.

Whether it's $5.00, 25.00, 50.00, or ? ~ it'll accumulate and just might be enough to help them buy another trailer and be able to re-establish Russell's tools to help save his livelyhood. 

The two of them need to begin rebuilding their lives ~ their little piece of heaven,  for as Nancy mentioned… this may have taken away their recent aspirations, but not for long !

Especially with Your Help ~ Thank you EVER SO MUCH!!!
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Nancy here!
I've been meaning to share a little ditty about my husband…
Russ was out inspecting and video-documenting the damaged water-lines for the water company he manages.
All of the sudden, climbing and jumping a boulder in the creek where the waterline runs… He found himself eye to eye with a young, female Brown Bear.
Freaked-out, jumping back a bit, he was in no real danger as she was fresh from the back, "back" Country ~ flushed out due to the fire and hurt (See photo).
She was pretty ragged, burned here and there, but it was her paws burned severely, poor baby… escaping from the fire as she came down from the Las Padres National Forest which Ojai butts up to.
Russ was relentless… Checking on her every day, twice a day ~ calling Fish & Game, going back and providing her a couple of our dogs bones and to be sure she was getting to the water there in the creek.
After 3+ days Russ finally got ahold of the right people to come rescue her and take her for medical treatment to be released again in the back-country so she may live out her years…
I'm very Proud of my Husband for being the caring compationate man he is!
Where she had camouflaged herself when Russ 1st came upon her.
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Well, here we are the day before Christmas Eve… It's SUCH a peculiar feeling to be displaced over the Holidays.
We're being taken good care of at the guesthouse being lent to us... But no lights, no presents under the tree, no fan of x-mas cards (does anyone write cards out any more?) across the wall or on the mantel…
OMGosh ~ I just realized I'm giving myself a truly unexpected "Pitty-Party".
Well, enough of all-that (should I erase?) Awe to heck with it… They were true feelings at the time.
I/We REALLY do appreciate the outpouring of Love ❤ & Generosity (it truly humbles us knowing the support we've received in so many respects).
Thanks to all of you ~ Have a Happy Holiday & a Bright New Year!
All Our Love ❤,
Russ & Nancy
Russ & I during a Big Bear Get-Away with Friends a few years back!
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Thanks to everyone who has show us support by extending their kindness in so many ways…
"Before the Fire" ~ Happier times will come again!
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$5,160 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 34 people in 2 months
Created December 13, 2017
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