In devastated Kauai farm town, residents are thankful for their lives

In devastated Kauai farm town, residents are thankful for their lives
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

KAPAA, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Keapana Valley is a small community of farmers. And now, it's a community looking to rebuild.

Floodwaters swept through the town in last weekend's historic rains on Kauai, gobbling up everything along the way.

The Kaui family lost their home in the floods and, like many of their neighbors, their livelihoods. They were barely able to escape themselves.

The Lopezs live just a couple lots away. They were home with their 6-month-old grandchild when the storm hit. They couldn't get out.

"Just looking at my family and feeling defenseless, that I can't do anything coming off a total knee replacement and just looking at my family, my heart was sore," said Patrick Lopez. "Thinking we either gonna survive it or not."

Ilima Lopez said she faced death as the floodwaters rose.

[Kauai evacuations continue amid disaster assessment efforts]

She thought, "'And this is where our lives might end.' And that thought scared me more than anything. I'm old, old already, but I was looking at my daughter and my grandson and thinking, these guys never even live their lives yet."

She added, "I think that when you look at it, for me, we came out alive and that's all that matters."

Kapaa resident Gregg Winston said he's grateful beyond words that no one died in the floods.

"Everybody is accounted for and that's the biggest blessing from God," he said.

Winston is not from Keapana, but has a love for the community.

"When I was a kid, I moved over here from the mainland and was adopted by this community and they taught me the spirit of aloha and what that means is that you help and be part of the community," he said. "So I'm just taking care of the people that raised me, and that's this island."

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.