Community steps in to help Napa woman who lost sons to war and suicide, husband to heart attack

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Saturday, December 19, 2020
Beautiful Xmas surprise for Napa senior who lost sons, husband
A Napa woman, who hadn't had a visitor in months at her senior living facility was showered with love and Christmas cheer from her community. After the tragic year she's had, it couldn't have come at a better time.

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- A Napa mother, just wanting to reconnect with those from her past during the pandemic ended up helping orchestrate the ultimate surprise holiday moment for a very deserving senior citizen, living at the Napa Valley Care Center.

Before we share what happened on this sunny, music-filled morning less than a week before Christmas, a little back story on how we got here.

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Lindsay Roach is a single mom who, the during shelter-in-place, spent time practicing gratitude and reaching out to those in her life she hadn't spoken to in awhile. During this process, she came across a memory of her old high school classmate Phillip West. While never close friends with Phillip, she remembered him being funny and kind. Phillip was killed by an IED while serving as a Marine in Iraq in 2004.

Wanting to connect with his family, and finally visit his gravesite, Lindsay found Mimie West, Phillip's mother, on Facebook and reached out. After many phone calls and FaceTimes together, she slowly learned how much tragedy touched the West family.

Several years after Phillip's death, her son Kyle, who suffered from depression, died by suicide. Her husband, a former city council member with American Canyon, died of a heart attack. Mimie herself suffered a stroke shortly after.

The pandemic just made an already challenging life, that much harder.

"I feel bad she's alone here and not able to see visitors," says Lindsay.

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A South Bay grandmother's simple request for assistance securing one of this season's hottest toys for her two grandsons turned into the surprise of her life thanks to ABC7 News anchor Dion Lim and 7 On Your Side consumer team producer Brinke Guthrie.

That's when Lindsay reached out to ABC7 News. With anchor Dion Lim and 7 On Your Side's Brinke Guthrie, she reached out to neighboring Sal The Floral Guy and his wife Dina, who has been serving the Napa community since 1992. They immediately offered a stunning red and white centerpiece of lilies and roses.

"This is what makes life worth living. Helping others and that's what gives us joy," says Dina.

Nearby, See's Candies jumped into help as well, gifting Mimie not one, but two, giant bags of candy. It was enough to hand out to the entire care facility! An enthusiastic store employee said she was thrilled to lend a hand.

The Silver Belles Caroling Group also jumped at the chance to spend some time at the care facility with Mimie.

"It was so important to be here. Music is the most important part of the holiday season to bring merriment to people... to see her eyes light up was incredibly rewarding."

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Smiles Daniella Caveney is one of four in the group who have formed a quarantine pod, and have been performing together during this holiday season.

Erica Dori nodded and said, "There are so many people in assisted living homes, who served our country, who built our country. So many are alone during the holidays, so for me to have a chance to sing for a resident really meant a lot to me."

So, after a whirlwind 24 hours of planning, it all fell together. Mimie was wheeled outside for visitors for the first time in months. All to the sweet serenade of "Santa Clause is Coming To Town," in perfect harmony by the Silver Belles.

"Oh my gosh it's fabulous!" Mimie exclaimed with moist eyes from behind her mask. Clearly surprised to see for the first time in real life, her new friend Lindsay, but to be treated with so much kindness.

"Napa is a great community. This was amazing, it was put together in such short notice and it was a little trying at times and it all came together."