Like nearly all of our neighbors here in the valley, I’ve become too familiar with our annual fires and the accompanying stress, confusion, and inconvenience. I’m grateful not to have lost my former home in Sonoma in 2017, nor my current home in Oakmont this year. I feel just awful for the residents who have. I wish them abundant strength and courage in their time of loss.
Last Sunday, I sheltered overnight on one of the golf courses as the fire nearly surrounded Oakmont, and it was an unsettling experience, to say the least. I realized as the sun rose on Monday morning that I would need to leave, likely for an extended period. Given all the evacuations, I assumed I’d have to travel far to find somewhere to stay. However, having grown up in Sonoma, I decided to give the El Pueblo Inn a call just in case they had a vacancy. I didn’t expect there would be. When I asked if a vacancy was available, the response was “Are you an evacuee?” When I replied that I was, I was told to come by, and that a room would be made available. That was a relief, enabling me to stay in a familiar place, close to friends and familiar surroundings.
During my seven nights staying at the El Pueblo as the evacuation order stayed in place, the entire staff could not have been more gracious, helpful, and accommodating. Everyone bent over backwards to assist and care for me, as well as my fellow refugees, all of whom were understandably feeling the effects of a scary and stressful situation. I can’t say that I’m surprised, because I’ve seen Sonomans gracefully rise to all manner of challenging occasions my entire life. It was nevertheless reassuring to witness it yet again, and deeply touching to be a beneficiary.
I’ll forever be grateful to the entire El Pueblo staff, each of whom is caring, competent professionals who know exactly what it takes to come through with flying colors on behalf of their neighbors in need. Thank you –
— Martin Laney, Sonoma Valley