People where Lokoya homes stood haven’t been forgotten

By Ellis Levinson

Rising more than 2,000 feet above Napa Valley, Lokoya Mountain Lodge once stood as a refuge for the well-heeled. The resort burned to the ground in the 1950s. Eventually the remaining cabins gave way to development and 19 homesites sprang up in their place. But because of this month’s Northern California wildfires, those houses followed in the lodge’s path. The wind-driven flames left not a single home standing.

So why would American Red Cross volunteers Bob Nelson of Milwaukee and Suzanne Carroll of Boise head up twisting Lokoya Road in their emergency response vehicle (ERV) loaded with rakes, shovels, water, and cleaning supplies with no expectation that anyone might be at the devastated tract? “People who lived here had expressed a need for water and cleaning supplies,” explained Suzanne.

Indeed there was no one to be found. A trailer now stands where a house stood a few weeks earlier. But Suzanne and Bob loaded up a dolly and left the requested supplies near the trailer and at an adjacent site where a couple they knew only as Rob and Pat had lived. Their house was gone too. Rob, a guitar maker, had a workshop that also housed his prized possession, a classic Ford that was about 75 years old. He had spent 20 years restoring what is now a burned out shell in the metal skeleton of the shed.

With such devastation, leaving cleaning supplies and water may not seem like much. But it reminds these folks that they’re not forgotten; that someone cares.

About 100 yards away sits the home of Michael and Heidi Prosis. As luck would have it, their home was spared. Their water supply was still not fit for drinking, and Michael was grateful that Bob and Suzanne dropped off a case of bottled water.

Michael had been a Red Cross donor ever since he was able to get a walker and bedside toilet from his local chapter when his mother-in-law needed them. And he’s still impressed.

“You guys are fantastic, and you’re everywhere where needed,” he said.


Beth Eurotas and Jim Burns provided editorial support for this story.