On Her Long Route, Mail Carrier Sees Home She Lost To Flames

Carrie Hodousek
November 11, 2019 - 8:35 am

Geyserville’s mail carrier was back in her delivery truck shortly after losing her home in the Kincade fire.

Bernadette Laos, 59, has been the town’s mail carrier for 18 years. She makes 500 deliveries a day along her 80-mile route.

The most difficult part of the job is driving by what used to be her little red farmhouse, now burned to the ground.

“It’s brutal,” Laos told KCBS Radio as she wiped away tears standing in front of the rubble. “I have to relive it every day.”

Bernadette Laos, a postal worker in Sonoma County, sees the remnants of her home, which was destroyed by the Kincade Fire, on her USPS route every day.
Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio

She and her husband escaped the flames with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

“Both of us only had pajamas on. Nothing else,” she recalled. "Not one single thing in our hand."

When she returned home, she found a sentimental possession.

“I was hoping to find my dad’s wedding ring, but we did find my husband’s and basically nothing else,” she said.

Returning to work, only three days after coming home to ashes, was an easy choice for her.

“I’d rather go to work than cry every day,” she said.

Customers along her route offered hugs. Some asked if she needed clothing or food.

David Hubole sees her every day.

“I’ve never seen her not smiling, even when it’s hard. She’s always got something nice to say and takes care of us,” he said after Laos delivered him a package.

Postal worker Bernadette Laos embraces a customer on her route in Sonoma County. Laos' home was destroyed by the Kincade Fire.
Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio

Tammy Young has known Laos for the past 18 years.

“She’s seen my kids grow up, my pets, she’s seen everything,” Young said.

The community has set up a GoFundMe page to help Laos and her family with their losses. The Geyserville Coffee Company is also accepting donations.

“I’m lucky for the hugs and support,” Laos said. “I have an army behind me.”