I’d like to introduce you to the story of two friends and wine collectors who recently lost their home in the fires. There are so many devastating stories that have come out in the last few weeks, but this one has an inspiring twist to it that I really wanted to share.
During the wildfires, I evacuated my house in St. Helena and went to stay with a good friend in Novato, CA who opened up her home to those in need. Also staying with her were Sue and Brenda who had lost a beautiful home and a wine cellar with 800 bottles of handpicked wines. Their story was tragic, but put a smile on my face.
Sue and Brenda received a call at 3 am on Monday, October 9th from a friend who gave them a quick warning about the fire approaching their home before cell phone service died. They looked out their back door and saw the flames coming their way. They had a very short time to get out. Luckily the two of them had put together a plan years ago where each of them were assigned duties in case of an emergency evacuation. Sue was responsible for computers so she started unplugging and packing up hard drives. Brenda was responsible for wine so she headed towards the cellar. She packed the first case and took it to the car outside. She looked around her housing development and saw that most all the lights were off, meaning neighbors were asleep and unaware of the fire. She thought to herself that she could save bottles or save lives and she chose lives. She put down the wine and started knocking on doors.
When I was staying with Sue in Novato, she told me about the phone calls she had received in the last few days from those neighbors thanking her for her efforts to wake and save them. The entire tract of homes was lost, but everyone got out alive thanks to Sue!!
Despite Mother Nature challenging Napa Valley in this unimaginable way, the recent fires have demonstrated a spirit of strength and resilience in our community that is simply amazing. We are enormously grateful to the first responders, law enforcement and volunteers who worked tirelessly to help our communities and