Nov 23 2013

What Am I Thankful For?


First, it’s never to early to be thankful, especially at a time like this. Here’s what I am thankful for today (Nov. 23, 2013) — IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

1. Heroic neighbors — the one who, on smelling the smoke through his dog door, only had the time to get his three generations of family members out (including a baby), but THEN, ran all the way over to another neighbor’s to pound on their door to warn them. In his underwear (no time!) We live in a rural area, and that was a football field sized run. THANK YOU, NEIGHBORS!

2. More heroic neighbors — the pounded-door neighbors divided tasks, and while one ran around grabbing stuff, the other took the time to call ME and another neighbor, to warn us. Fire? What fire?? I had NO idea. Where I was in the house, I could not smell, or see, ANY of this. And who knows WHEN I would have figured out there was a fire headed my way (someone later said, “the fire crews parked in your driveway would have been a clue…)”? THANK YOU, NEIGHBORS!

3. And more neighbors — There is only one road in and out to my home — and that one way was now in flames. But there is a dirt path leading from another neighbor’s place. It’s a switchbcck, since we’re all atop a big hill. It’s unlit and little used, it can be treacherous and daunting in broad daylight — nevermind the dark of night, with a fire on your heels. One of my neighbors waited for me, and led me down the trail (the other, who is a retired firefighter, stayed behind, to see if he could help). THANK YOU, NEIGHBORS!

4. And all my neighbors — We gathered at the volunteer fire station at the bottom of our hill (yes, I’m thankful for that too!!), looking up at the flames consuming our hillside, wondering if anyone’s home would survive. The first two neighbors’ places were completely surrounded when they left. The neighbor who led me down the path sat in my car, and we spent the rest of the night in camaraderie. She kept us updated with messages from the one who stayed behind. From time to time, all of us would exit our vehicles and brave the cold to gather to exchange news, thoughts, predictions — but really, I think we were just glad to be there with and for each other. For me, knowing that every one of my neighbors had reached out to help each other, made things a lot better. No matter what, we were all safe — thanks in large part to each other. THANK YOU NEIGHBORS!

5. Our firefighters. (Remember, I said in NO PARTICULAR ORDER, because it’s impossible to judge….) Heck, ALL firefighters! Our volunteer firefighters, along with units dispatched from neighboring towns, were on the scene in what seemed like minutes. And again, remember we are in a rural area. But when that siren wails, those men and women are on it. In the deepest darkness, up a very steep one mile hill, they drove and hiked up to save our homes. Not a single home burned, and I’m telling you the flames were so close, my first two neighbors drove through them to get out. When I was allowed to return home at midnight (those first two neighbors didn’t get back until 0400), there was an engine in my driveway, with three firefighters from another town, positioned there to protect the structure. And there they remained, through the night.

6. Gifts of nature and fate: Earlier in the evening, we had winds roaring to 35 mph. For whatever reason, they decreased a bit during the fire, and despite them, our firefighters were able to contain this hell. Cold: Not a friend of fire. I’ll never complain about it again. Rain: after the driest period ON RECORD, we finally had two days of rain — two days ago. Had that NOT happened…?

7. Luck: ’nuff said. But it includes the fact that we were able to drive our way out. That there IS a volunteer fire station within a mile. That somehow, we’re all safe, and have not lost much.

Jan 22 2012

Il Ling New 1 of 4 Stellar Inductees for Outdoors Hall of Fame

Il Ling New is the No. 1 female firearms instructor and hunting guide in the United States.

Tom Stienstra, Chronicle Outdoors Writer
Sunday, January 22, 2012

Il Ling New, America’s No. 1 female firearms instructor and hunting guide, was the top vote-getter in this year’s balloting for the California’s Outdoors Hall of Fame.

New was inducted at a ceremony Saturday at the Sacramento International Sportsmen’s Exposition, which ends a four-day run this weekend at Cal Expo.

The Circle of Chiefs also inducted fishing tackle pioneer Sep Hendrickson, hiker Scott Williamson and fly fisher and scientist Jim Adams.

Others considered by voters this year include snowboard Olympian Shaun White, bicycling guru Austin McInerny, Marin outdoor historian and hiker Barry Spitz and renowned trekker Leo Le Bon.

Anybody can nominate a candidate for the Hall of Fame. The award is based on a vote of past winners and leaders in the outdoor industry, media and government, free of any faction. All candidates must fill two requirements:

  • The nominees have inspired thousands of Californians to take part in the great outdoors and/or conservation.
  • The nominees must have taken part in a paramount scope of adventures.

For information, go to

Il Ling New
Born in San Francisco and a Yale graduate with an MBA, she turned her back on a lucrative marketing career to teach people self-protection, how to handle firearms, and hunting. She is America’s No. 1 female firearms instructor and No. 1 female freelance guide. She has hunted across the hemisphere and to Africa twice, including for Cape buffalo, and trains hunters from across the hemisphere prior to world-class expeditions. She has hunted ducks in California since age 10. As an instructor, she has had a profound influence on people across America, and has taught Marines and police as well as housewives and hunters of all backgrounds. Her skills are world-renowned; with a handgun small enough to fit in her palm, she can put three shots in a pie plate in 5 seconds, has competed nationally for skeet titles, and is versed as an expert in all rifles. She has a stunning ability to improve others’ skills and safety. Named on more than 75 percent of ballots.

Read the rest if the article at SF Gate.

May 10 2010

Gunsite launches New Ladies-Only 250 Defensive Pistol Class

From (Gunsite Operations Manager) Ed Head’s post on the Downrange TV Blog:

“Ladies Only 250 is our regular 5 day long Defensive Pistol class for girls only and is taught by a staff of women instructors. Il Ling New adapted our 250 curriculum to the ladies class.”

“Due to the success of the Ladies Only 250 we are going to be running it again, this time in conjunction with a regular 250, the week of October 18 – 22.  And, we have a special deal to introduce for family members.  Sign up for the regular 250 that week and have a wife, daughter or sister sign up for the Ladies Only class and you get the ladies class for half price, a savings of $714.  This class is restricted to 12 women and we expect it to fill quickly.”

Read the rest of Ed’s post here.