The sweet, black 1968 Camaro ripped off from Sonoma on Thursday leaves a hole the size of a five-car garage in the hearts of dad-and-son Doug and Nathan Sanders.
The Rally Sport was tired and yellow when Doug, an auto repairman, bought it a decade ago. He and Nathan worked on it and off, accomplishing most of the restoration two years ago as Nathan’s senior project in high school.
It’s been even more recent that the car has been running well and nearly finished.
Said Nathan, now 20, “My dad and I always agreed we would never sell the car or trade it for anything since we had put so much heart into it. It was to be passed down generation to generation.”
Nathan said his dad parked outside the Safeway on West Napa Street and ran in for a few chicken wings. Exiting the market to find the Camaro gone, Doug hoped his co-workers at nearby Pacific Rim Auto Repair were messing with him.
Should you see the Camaro, which wore old American Racing five-spoke grey wheels, father and son would appreciate a quick call to the Sonoma Police.
What they say about Steve Baxman
“I love Steve. He’s our local hero. I jokingly say he sleeps with his boots on. He’s always ready to come out and take care of people.”
Diane Barth, longtime Monte Rio resident
“He’s no stranger to controversy. I’ve defended him a number of times. (But) I tell people if you’re the one who goes over a cliff or find yourself in a perilous situation of any kind, he’s the face you want to see.”
Andy Pforsich, former Gold Ridge fire chief
“As good or bad or difficult as some of the calls might be, he finds a way to lighten the mood. He doesn’t take away from the seriousness, but he lessens the heartache of people involved, patients and responders.”
Sean Grinnell, Bodega Bay fire chief
“I think my brother has done a tremendous amount of good but he doesn’t do this alone. He has a wonderful supporting cast that never gets any credit.”
Deanna Baxman, retired Cal Fire division chief
“Sometimes you have to realize when politically you have to watch what you say. Steve doesn’t care.”
Dan George, Gold Ridge fire chief
“It’s very helpful when Steve shows up. He can keep a crazy situation calm. If we get a call at three in the morning chances are he’s there. I don’t think the guy sleeps.”
Dan Mori, Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy
“Some people love to hate him. But they call him, not 911. What does that tell you?”
Max Ming, Russian River fire chief
“He’s a true legend. I don’t know what he’s made of but he’s definitely made of something else.”
Efren Carrillo, Sonoma County supervisor
“He can never be replaced. He’s been doing it over 40 years now. No one can fill those shoes.”
Marshall Turbeville, Cal Fire battalion chief
“He’s a character. It leads people to not think he is the real deal. He is the real deal. He’s one of the legends of Sonoma County.”
Jack Piccinini, chief of Windsor and Rincon Valley fire districts
“He’s not talking out of the side of his mouth. You get what’s in front of you. I think he’s been a remarkable resource for the county.”
Ray Mulas, Schell‑Vista fire chief