A Winter’s Tale from the South Coast

Here is just one of the stories I tell in my article for Voices of Monterey Bay.

Another example of neighbors helping neighbors happened on Sunday morning. One of the amazing, hard-working volunteers with Big Sur Fire, Thomas Leahy, checked on a neighbor down by the Monterey/San Luis Obispo County line, where he found his neighbor on the floor. He called in the South Coast Engine crew, which showed up within a half hour.

They transported the patient to Ragged Point, whose lawn is used to land helicopters all the time. The firefighters spent most of the day on phones provided by Ragged Point, with one of them staying with the patient in a room that the business provided. These four firefighters — including Caleb Chesser, Joel DePola, Mike Handy and Leahy — spent all day trying to find a way to get this patient out of this closed and blocked off area and to a hospital.

Finally, after trying so many ways and people, the Army National Guard sent a helicopter that landed on the lawn of Ragged Point and flew the patient and his wife to a local hospital, where he remains as of this writing. It landed in the dark and rain. Hats off to this pilot and to our South Coast crew of the Big Sur Fire Department —  neighbors helping each other.

To read the rest of the stories I tell about life on an island, see:


10 thoughts on “A Winter’s Tale from the South Coast

  1. Whatever would we do without good neighbors working together? Our situation here on the north coast wasn’t nearly as dire, but we had a road slide that blocked traffic in both directions of 101. We were due a long awaited delivery of farm groceries a few days after the slide. After a bit of brainstorming, a neighbor north of the slide braved the daunting drive on logging roads up in the hills during one of the wild storms (the only way to bypass the slide). The groceries were relayed by others in the group. It’s quite heartwarming to learn that we can all work together for the benefit of many. As you well know!

  2. A “front row seat” to “our own version of a neighborhood rock party” means a whole lotta work needed to roll off the rocks from the back-country roads and getting to resupply. Brilliant, Kate. Your articles for the Voices of Monterey Bay provide the picture of existence that you live daily to any Big Sur ex-pats and flatlanders in the region and beyond. Love this!

  3. Dear Kate, I loved your article! You are an amazing woman with equally amazing friends and neighbors. Such fortitude, strength, and community. I’m looking forward to reading the New York Times article.

  4. The Big Sur Fire crew were involved in a similar rescue on Jan 15th. Four firemen and three neighbors were there. Two of the firemen were on the scene from about 10AM to after sunset. Again, only the National Guard responded. (The patient had a successful operation at a hospital on the 17th.) Thanks all!

  5. John – thank you for confirming all that Bigsurkate described about the rescue. I’m so glad the patient had a great outcome with the operation! I love the way the South Coast community works together.

  6. Posts and the Voices of MB are lovely and inspiring. Wonderful additions to one of my favorite books, purchased at Lucia Lodge store (years before the fire) called “Big Sur Women,” edited Judith Goodman (1985), with accounts of impressive women going back to 1890s. Proof to those of us no longer in California that there is still “a world elsewhere.”

  7. Beautifully written, and very inspiring! Neighbors helping neighbors, love and community. Thank you Kate for your voice!

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