Hospitality Under Any Circumstances
Take a moment to Google the definition for hospitality and it states – ‘the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.’ In short, there are no state or county lines or other limitations. It’s how to treat anyone during any occasion. And, while no one wants to find themselves traveling during a natural weather event, a great example of hospitality shined through perfectly at Topaz Lake recently. Descending into Carson Valley via US Highway 395 from the south you’re instantly welcomed by the community of Topaz Lake. It’s a small, generous and equally mighty, group of quality folks.
Recently, a both rare and late spring thunderstorm sent a mudslide across the main highway, primarily affecting Topaz Lodge and Casino. No one was injured, but what happened next is nothing short of legendary. In our valley, it’s just what we do. A major outpouring of support stepped forth to lend a hand and ensure that no guests would be affected during this time.
Speaking with the Topaz Lodge Resort Manager Rick Ross, we were struck by a few touching stories (noted below) as well as the resort’s genuine appreciation for all the help:
- Martin Pomeroy and family (son and daughter-in-law) stayed till after midnight the first night (Monday night), moving mud from the front main entrance. Both were using our tractor and the daughter in law was shoveling mud. They helped us move accumulations from three or four cars in the front parking area until we could get in, start them up and move them to an alternate location.
- Ryan Hathaway (his mother a former gas station manager) happened to be at the gas station when the slide occurred and stayed until around 11pm moving debris from the gas station and general store as the front of the store was blocked. With his help, we were able to get the store back open before the night was over. During this time, gas purchases were still available via credit/debit.
- The next day, Jerry and Nancy Vandenburg came by with an additional tractor and moved the build up from the gas station area and in front of the hotel buildings. Jerry was using his tractor and Nancy was shoveling. Jerry continued to help us for the next two days, then he simply needed to go back to work, as he’s self-employed.
- Don Hudson brought his Bobcat for our use. This came in extremely handy in tight spaces and corners.
- The East Fork Fire District stayed the first night and also helped move mud from around cars in the front parking lot so they could be moved.
- Kathy Shoemaker made up sandbags for use around the lodge.
- Former Topaz Lake Fire Department Chief, Dave Thomas also assisted, along with Chuck Fields, Asst. Fire Chief and Topaz Lake Marina owner, along with other Citizens Emergency Response Team members.
- NDOT worked round the clock until 395 opened back up and then took up the task of clean up and unblocking drains and culverts. The amount of accumulation they removed was unbelievable, especially given the time frame they accomplished it in.
- The Antelope Valley Fire Department (Walker/Coleville Ca) brought a fire truck and helped rinse numerous parking lots after the majority of mud was removed (but still need a tighter clean-up to mint condition).
What did all this mean to visitors? Locals jumped in and supported their neighboring business and the business was much better prepared to serve the customers. Many more examples have surfaced with direct acts of kindness and generosity displayed between all those present. The casino never closed. No one had to be relocated to another hotel. They stayed in and enjoyed their trip! Topaz Lodge and the surrounding area was back to business as usual by the next day.
Our area is known for 300+ days of sun each year. When it’s not, it’s reassuring to know this community pitches-in and is ready to truly help and welcome guests under any condition. Rain or snow, sleet or shine, hospitality can be at its best in tough times too.
We invite you to learn more about Carson Valley and look forward to welcoming you soon.