Relief Fund

photos Susan Munroe

Late Saturday afternoon, January 12, 2019, Tuffy’s owner was notified that her horse was down in its paddock. The big beautiful Clydesdale was lying in the mud and unable to get up.

Tuffy was completely exhausted from trying to get a foothold in the deep mud. After several hours of stuggling, the Woodside Fire Protection District (WFPD) and the Disaster Animal Rescue Team (DART) were called for assistance.

Thanks to ongoing large animal rescue training, WFPD personnel, with the help of DART, finally repositioned Tuffy and assisted the large animal to her feet. Once up and able to regain some strength, Tuffy walked out to the driveway where the owner’s veterinarian examined and treated her. Tuffy is recovering nicely from her ordeal.

DART member and Woodside Community Foundation Board member Rick DeBenedetti credited the success of the rescue to the extensive and ongoing training that WFPD personnel and DART members have for just such an emergency.

rescue9DeBenedetti also said, “Huge thanks must be given to those forward-thinking Woodside residents whose donations to the Woodside Community Foundation enabled the Foundation to purchase the horse manikin and special equipment so that the WFPD fire personnel could train for such a disaster/rescue.”

The Woodside Community Foundation thanks everyone who was involved in getting Tuffy back on her feet!

Fire damage

Santa Barbara Equine Assistance and Evacuation Team

Following the devastating fires and subsequent floods which occurred in Southern California in 2017, the Woodside Community Foundation reached out to the Santa Barbara Equine Assistance and Evacuation Team, Inc. to determine whether they needed financial assistance in their ongoing large animal evacuation and disaster relief efforts.

SB Equine Evac got it's start more than 25 years ago after the Painted Cave Fire, and has been active during almost every Fire in the area since. The group assists all Santa Barbara County emergency responding agencies and large animal owners in the evacuation, temporary care and sheltering of large animals in time of fire, flood, earthquake and other disasters or accidents. Their volunteers are trained and registered Disaster Service Workers under the Office of Emergency Services in California. They also provide disaster preparedness and emergency response education and demonstrations for many local public events, agencies and organizations.

SB Equine Evac

Recently, SB Equine Evac stated that it is looking for funding to purchase a large storage container which would be permanently located on the Earl Warren Fairgrounds. This storage container would be used to house the hundreds of buckets, carts, hoses, tools and other equipment needed for immediate access during any evacuation/disaster relief event. Given the enormity of the Fairgrounds, with over 600 stalls and turn out area’s, the group also wanted to purchase a utility vehicle (ATV) or farm type vehicle which would be used for feedings, and delivering hay and supplies where needed throughout the expansive Fairgrounds.

SB Equine Evac

As SB Equine Evac's spokeswoman Ronda Hathaway says, "Our goal is to be prepared and ready to go at the Earl Warren Fairgrounds whenever and for whatever the community needs. We never know when that will be but we have been super busy in past years. A container onsite will help us be ready quicker for incoming animals rather than a storage unit offsite. At this point, the ATV would be for our use only, and the container would be a permanent staging."

In January of 2018, the Woodside Community Foundation was pleased to award $15,000 from the North Bay Horse and Livestock Disaster Relief Fund to this important emergency preparedness project. The Santa Barbara Equine Assistance and Evacuation Team now has both its permanent storage container and ATV in place at the Earl Warren Fairgrounds in anticipation of the next large-scale disaster.

Learn more about the Santa Barbara Equine Assistance and Evacuation Team.



Fire damage

Patti is helped by our donation to S.A.F.E.R.

Here's another person's tragic story from the North Bay Fires. A woman named Patti owned this ranch where she bred her Bernese Mountain Show Dogs. At the time of the fire she had eight dogs and a litter of four three-week old pups. She had to leave with the firemen who woke her up — with no time at all. The dogs all perished along with her turkeys, chickens and other animals.

Fire damageFire3 500x400

Miraculously, the fire jumped the pasture and her three horses and her steer survived, although they could not get to them for a week. These pictures show the ranch and her horses when they returned. The property was still smoking. There was NO INSURANCE. She was unaware her ex-husband had let the policy lapse.

Fire remains

The bodies of her beloved Bernese Mountain Dogs were found under these roof tiles — one of the disaster relief workers dug them out and Patti cremated their remains. You can see how very hot the fire was here.

The Woodside Community Foundation is proud to work with Sonoma Action for Equine Rescue to help people like Patti rebuild their lives in the wake of the disastrous North Bay Fires.

Stay tuned for more updates both on additional assistance to horse and livestock owners in the aftermath of the North Bay Fires, and in the more recent Southern California Fires. The Woodside Community Foundation is committed to helping fellow equestrians, ranchers and farmers affected by the recent devastating fires in California.



Fire damage

More relief allocated through S.A.F.E.R.

Woodside Community Foundation recently allocated another $6,000 to Sonoma Action for Equine Rescue for disaster relief following the North Bay Fires. These funds will again be used to provide vouchers to Tractor Supply and Rainbow Ag for people in the process of rebuilding their barns and corrals.

Mandi, one of the recent fire victims helped by these vouchers provided us with some pictures and a bit of her family's story.

The photo above shows our property right after the fire. You can even see some of it is still smoking. The big melted metal shed held over 20 years worth of tack that I had accumulated, including my favorite saddle. We barely escaped with our lives, almost having to release the horses to run free. With a turn of luck, we were able to get everyone out that night except the cat (who we found later and is 100% healed now) and the chickens (who are now safe at their new home with a friend). All that is left standing was our well pump house and the chicken coop.

Post clean-up

This photo is post clean up which just finally happened December 30, about three months after the fire! You can see remnants of the fence which we will have to tear out and rebuild. The chicken coop was amazingly untouched! You can also see my husband's motorcycle frame, sacrificed to save my horses — what a man!!

Night of the fireHorses ride

Here are our two horses, Kaylee and Blue. The first photo is the night of the fire with them crammed into a stall at the fairgrounds. The next day a cousin was able to pick them up and give them a lovely pasture for the next several months. They have since been moved back to my in-laws in Potter Valley until we can move home and rebuild fencing. The second shot is of my girls ready for a ride just a month ago, thanks to some donated tack and new grooming supplies I purchased.

Stay tuned for more updates both on additional assistance to horse and livestock owners in the aftermath of the North Bay Fires, and in the more recent Southern California Fires. The Woodside Community Foundation is committed to helping fellow equestrians, ranchers and farmers affected by the recent devastating fires in California.



Grant Report from S.A.F.E.R.

fire damageIn another move to help horse and livestock owners displaced or affected by the devastating North Bay Fires, the Woodside Community Foundation recently made a $3,000 grant to Sonoma Action for Equine Rescue. On behalf of WCF, S.A.F.E.R. distributed a total of ten $300-vouchers to Tractor Supply so that people returning to their properties could begin the process of rebuilding. In most cases, these vouchers were used to help buy new fencing for people who lost everything in the fires.

Teresa Crocker, DVM, a beloved horse vet who escaped with nothing but her animals and her husband lost everything including a neighbor she loved. She spent the month following the fire treating horses injured in the Tubbs Fire. She used the voucher for several pipe panels.

JamieJamie Ginochios, a popular farrier lost everything, including his truck and tools, in the Redwood Valley Fire. While his truck was insured, his tools were not. He used his voucher to purchase new farrier tools and supplies.

Stay tuned for more updates both on additional assistance to horse and livestock owners in the aftermath of the North Bay Fires, and in the more recent Southern California Fires. The Woodside Community Foundation is committed to helping fellow equestrians, ranchers and farmers affected by the recent devastating fires in California.


hay donation

Woodside Community Foundation Relief Fund Delivers

Sonoma County Fairgrounds, CA: On Sunday afternoon, October 15, 2017, a tractor trailer loaded with grass hay was delivered to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds to help feed more than 400 animal refugees left homeless after the devastating fires that rampaged through the County just about one week ago. This giant load of hay was donated by the San Joaquin Hay Growers Association (thanks to WCF Board member Rick DeBenedetti), and the transport and offloading costs were covered with funds from WCF's North Bay Horse and Livestock Disaster Relief Fund.

In the next few days, two more donated loads of alfalfa and grass hay will be delivered to the Ukiah and Solano County Fairgrounds with the transport and offloading costs covered by the North Bay Disaster Relief Fund. Yet another load of grass hay donated by the Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County has been delivered to the Napa Fairgrounds. And WHOA!'s Fawni Hill delivered an enormous load of supplies and equipment (buckets, halters, medicines, etc.) donated at Day of the Horse to a Napa holding facility. These donated goods will then be distributed to Solano, Napa and Sonoma Counties as needed.

Woodside's Fire Marshal Denise Enea was on scene Sunday at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds to make sure that the first delivery was successful, and that the bales of hay were stacked and properly stored without having to burden other on-site volunteers.

Some of Denise Enea's observations from the day:

Denise Enea"I arrived in the morning well before the truckload of hay was delivered. There were at least 400 animals in pens, mostly horses but there are some cows, goats, alpacas, pigs, sheep and even some poultry. Many people who have lost everything are simply camped out with their animals. They have nowhere else to go now but need to stay close to their animals. Most animals at the evacuation center have owners but a growing number continue to arrive with no one to claim them.

While I was waiting for the grass to be delivered, I worked with several other volunteers to organize the vast number of donated bags of grain. We organized the bags by type, placed them on pallets, and then moved them into the barns so they wouldn't be soaked by the rain that is due later this week.

The outpouring of volunteer support was incredibly heartwarming to see. There were at least 100 volunteers including lots of veterinarians and a team of incredibly hard-working girls who were cleaning stalls, and making sure the animals had fresh water and bedding. The volunteers are doing a great job!

When the tractor trailer finally pulled in with the load of hay, everyone around the Fairgrounds started to cheer and clap!

Perhaps the most unexpected and touching part of the day involved the Firefighters. In addition to serving as a large animal evacuation site, the Sonoma County Fairgrounds is also being used as a staging and crew rest area by the National Guard, and by Fire Departments and their handcrews from around the State.

Around 11AM, I started to see crews of six and seven firefighters come in to get a shower, catch a meal and rest up a bit. Once the crews got a bit of food in their stomachs and some rest, they wandered over to hang out with the horses. They just wanted to be with the animals, to pet them, and to offer help. The fire crews were awestruck by the horse community's extraordinary generosity, commitment and organization. That the horse community could come together so quickly to help these animal refugees was a real inspiration.

At the end of the day, when everything was put away, I looked up and across the city of Santa Rosa and could see smoke billowing over the surrounding hills. It was a stark reminder that this County is not out of the woods yet."


Contribute to the Relief Fund

Help support large animal disaster relief through the Woodside Community Foundation.

For more information, contact Rick DeBenedetti, (650) 303-2661.

Donation Page

You may also send a check payable to:

Woodside Community Foundation
2995 Woodside Rd., Suite 350
Woodside, CA  94062

Thank you for your help and support.