Oak Fire: Community joins together to replace Mariposa County couple's beloved piano

Nearly 130 families lost their homes in the Oak Fire, including Pastor John and his wife Sue.

Friday, August 5, 2022
Oak Fire: Community joins together to replace couple's beloved piano
Loved ones of Pastor John and his wife Sue rallied together to replace their prized possession, a K. Kawai baby grand piano lost to the Oak Fire.

MARIPOSA COUNTY, Calif. -- For Pastor John and his wife Sue, July 22nd would be the last time they saw their Triangle Road home standing.

That night, they were forced to evacuate as the Oak Fire exploded in size.

Eight days later, they returned to what would have been their home of 36 years, reduced to rubble.

"There are people out there that have lost everything and they're really hurting," said John.

While walking the property for the first time Sunday, John and his son in law, Brian, found a sign of hope - a piano.

John had waited his entire life to get this piano, only to have it for less than a year. Regardless, he says this moment served as a reminder that flames couldn't take his family.

The K. Kawai baby grand helped create memories spanning generations. After learning it was lost in the fire, loved ones rallied together to replace the prized possession.

Nina Baker and Mary Silva spearheaded the mission, but many more were involved.

After several failed attempts at tracking down the same piano, an impromptu trip to Gottschalks in Fresno would stun even the store employee.

"I explained the story about John and Sue. His eyes got so big, his jaw dropped, he said you're not going to believe this - we just got that exact piano," said Baker.

John was surprised with the piano Monday at his daughter's house.

John and Sue are overwhelmed with gratitude at the love they've received.

"We've been so loved, so supported by people we don't know," said Sue.

Nearly 130 families lost their homes in the Oak Fire. Resources remain available through the Mariposa County Health & Human Services Agency.