Smith: Junk artist Patrick Amiot creates a sculpture to honor firefighters

Patrick Amiot, the perpetually creative junk artist from Sebastopol, beheld some of what firefighters from all over have done since the fires started. Inspired, he then set to work.

“I took all the fire extinguishers I could find, and a few old fuel tanks,” he said, “and built a giant fireman with lights and flames.”

Amiot's as-yet unnamed firefighter wields a hose alongside the sweetest, red, Santa Rosa fire truck, No. 707.

“Like all Sonoma County residents,” he said, “I wanted to show my gratitude toward all first responders who saved so many properties in our area.”

As soon he can this week, he'll install his piece of tribute art on a downtown Santa Rosa property visible from the SMART trains. “I want everyone that rides the train to know how grateful we are,” he said.

Amiot urges: See it in the daytime, and when it fires up at night.


Bike and beer folks are going all out to get direct assistance to local people who struggle in the wake of the disaster.

Sonoma Pride, a relief initiative of Russian River Brewing Company and cycling's King Ridge Foundation, has stocked a dandy of a take-what-you-need center for fire victims.

Located at 121 Fifth St. in Railroad Square, it offers used or new work clothes and other apparel, and shoes, blankets, strollers, coolers, diapers and such. It will be open 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

If you've been displaced and need help, go onto here to apply or register for financial aid, or lodging, or kids' bikes or other items. Also, donations are accepted there.

Russian River Brewing is raising money for fire relief through sales of its Sonoma Pride beer - and more than 50 breweries and other purveyors across the country are using the Sonoma Pride label to attract dollars for fire victims.


McDONALD MANSION will indeed be dressed for Halloween and ready for trick-or-treaters Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Owners Jenny and John Webley considered going dark this year because so many people have had their lives disrupted by the fires. But they decided that, more than ever, Santa Rosa could use a bit of fun.

The Webleys and their many costumed helpers have never accepted donations from those who enjoy their elaborate, themed Halloween garden extravaganzas. But Tuesday night, there will be, near the candy, a donation container that will go to the Resilience Fund of Community Foundation Sonoma County.

I'm sworn to secrecy about the Webleys' Halloween theme this year, but can say it's out of this world.


THIRD GRADERS at Rincon Valley's Whited Elementary School yearned for a way to comfort others amid the sadness and anxiety left by the fires. Several students and staff members lost their homes.

The 64 third-graders figured apple pie might help.

The kids in Whited's three third-grade classes put their math skills to work calculating and measuring ingredients for the pies, which they and their teachers baked in the school's two large ovens.

The multipurpose room never smelled better than when Whited's other 356 students walked in to see 36 fresh apple pies arrayed on tables. A banner offered up “A slice of kindness to warm your heart.”

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and

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