In the early morning of October 9th, Rusty and Betsy Dillon awoke to the smell of smoke and looked down from their home on Trinity Rd in Glen Ellen and saw flames rapidly coming up the hill. They loaded Ross in the van as quickly as possible and fled over the mountain to Oakville where they sought refuge at their church. They would later come to find out from neighbors, that their beloved family home of nearly 20 years was lost to the fire as well as everything in it.
As most of you know, the Dillon's home was not just the place where they lived, where their kids grew up, where holidays were hosted, and where they kept generations of family heirlooms. Most importantly, it had been built into the ideal at-home living situation for Ross, who was permanently disabled in 2001 when he was hit by a car in Occidental while riding his bike.
Over the last fifteen years, the Dillons have accumulated an extraordinary amount of medical and physical therapy equipment (mostly donated) and modified the home to make it wheelchair accessible and feasible for Ross to move around as independently as possible. With the help of full time caregivers, they have given Ross the best home possible where he has continued to make medical progress that everyone said was impossible. Through all of this, Rusty and Betsy were able to maintain a semblance of a normal life- Rusty keeping his psychotherapy practice and role as priest at his church and Betsy assuming the role of full time caregiver and brain injury rehab specialist. The last fifteen years have been survivable, but devastating financially for the Dillons, with their only solace being their beloved home.
Now their home is gone and everything in it. They also lost Rusty's and Ross' caregiver's personal cars. Jeff and Ariel Russell also lost many of their farm supplies and belongings that had been stored at the Dillon home.
Now the Dillon family is faced with starting over completely, for themselves and Ross. In the short term, we will face finding housing and replacing daily essentials (clothes, shoes, toiletries, medical supplies, etc). In the long term, we will face difficult decisions about whether to rebuild or not and how to afford that.
Rusty and Betsy are angels who have generously given everything they have to care for Ross. Please join me in supporting them in any way you can, to ease the burden of this loss. They survived the last tragedy because of their supportive community and they will certainly need to lean heavily on their community again to make it through this disaster.
Help can come in the form of donations, offers of wheelchair accessible housing, medical equipment (hospital bed, adult diapers, shower chair, etc), and words of encouragement.
For more information on my family's journey caring for Ross, visit www.Rossdillon.com