She Lost Her Home, But Her Spirit Shines Bright

Santa Rosa fire victim is experiencing a decorator's dream come true

Feature Story
woman working on Rose Parade float with her daughter
Kaiser Permanente employee Stephanie Stauer, right, and her daughter, Catherine, work on the organization's Rose Parade float.

It’s no secret Stephanie Stauer loves decorating for every occasion, especially Christmas. In fact, she loves decorating for the holidays so much, that she eagerly volunteers to help friends and coworkers adorn their homes.

Traditionally, Stephanie, who works at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center, would have filled her family home with five individually themed trees to celebrate the holiday season. But this year, like so many other Northern and Southern California residents, the Stauers’ holiday traditions have been compromised. In October, their Fountaingrove home in Northern California fell to the Tubbs fire.

And still, Stephanie’s spirit shines through.

“Stauers bend but do not break,” says the Petaluma native, whose gentle demeanor belies the strength it’s taken to survive a stroke, breast cancer, and now fire, in the past decade.

Living in a borrowed home she feels blessed to share with her husband Nick, their son Nolan, 14, and daughter Catherine, 18, Stephanie is experiencing a decorator’s dream come true. She and her daughter traveled south to help decorate Kaiser Permanente’s 2018 Rose Parade® Float, “Inspiring Healthy Communities.”

“Rather than focusing on what we have lost, we need to focus on what we have and celebrate the things that bring us happiness and fulfillment,” said Stephanie. “I have my family, I have my health, what else can I ask for!”

Stephanie has joined the more than 500 Kaiser Permanente employees and their families who are helping to decorate the organization’s 13th Rose Parade float. They will delicately affix hundreds of pounds of natural materials, including green roses, manzanita leaves, orange lentils, palm fronds and other organic supplies to bring the float to life. The float will have 46 individual moving parts, and all of the sculpted fruits, flowers and vegetables will spin, swing, turn or rotate.

Tune into the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day as “Inspiring Healthy Communities” makes its way down Pasadena’s legendary Colorado Boulevard.

To learn more, check out local news coverage of Stephanie.