A Restored Supply Wagon Brings Back a Lifetime of Memories to PUC Alum
By Ally Romanes on April 25, 2023
Paul Damazo visited Pacific Union College in February to meet with President Ralph Trecartin and Vice President for Financial Administration Joy Hirdler. Much to his surprise, Dale Withers, PUC facilities director, kindly brought out the old supply wagon, which used to carry produce and milk from PUC’s garden and dairy farm. Damazzo used to sit on the seat with his father when he was a PUC student. Mr. Damazo drove the delivery wagon with a team of horses down to St. Helena to deliver goods.
Damazo, now in his late 90s, told stories of how he had helped PUC’s church and college through the years. He founded a food service company that supplied organizations, businesses, and schools. Some of the Adventist schools employed student workers who wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise.
The wagon brought supplies up the hill from St. Helena beginning 1909, and Damazo’s father drove it up the hill and back each weekday. PUC was strapped for funds then and would not have had the money for a new wagon.
"I suspect the wagon either came with the property, which I know a lot of stuff did, or PUC bought it used," shared Withers. It was the college's main form of transportation for decades. After a while, it was relegated to a barn and used for special events and banquets.
During President Maxwell's years, the wagon was torn down and refurbished from the ground up. It was painted green, and on its sides, Diogenes Lanterns were decorated next to the Pacific Union College lettering.
From 2012–2017, the wagon was pulled in the Annual Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade by one of PUC’s old tractors. In 2017, PUC entered a group of music students from PUC Paulin Hall that sang Christmas carols. The college won first place and Best in Show in the Calistoga Lighted Tractor Parade. Today, the wagon still goes out for special events.
“Paul is a very spry, sharp-minded man in his late 90s that spent time with us suggesting ideas of what could be done with some of our commercial real estates to make it more productive,” says Withers. “The wagon was of course the highlight of the day since it has so much history both for his family and PUC.”
Seeing the supply wagon again after so many years was a total shock to Damazo. He was overcome with joy and excitement. As others were getting Damazo's walker, he looked at the photographer and said, “Did you bring this wagon out for me?” She replied, “Yes, sir, we did!”
Before anyone had the chance to help him, Damazo took his walker and set off for the wagon sitting on the lawn of La Jota Park. He jumped the curb and scooted up the lawn. At 10 feet away, he ditched the walker and ran to the wagon in sheer excitement.
Damazo wanted to go to the top of the park to see how his father once saw. Up he climbed, from the wheel hub to the side and then finally to the bench. Now in his late 90s, Damazo was sitting up high on the old wagon almost 10 feet off the ground! “At that point, I was in total shock, worried thinking how am I going to get this guy back down safely,” said Withers. Damazo was beaming from ear to ear. He was so excited the words could not come out fast enough.
Again, Damazo said how he had been so fortunate to have been able to help families and students gain an Adventist education. He said he wished he was 50 again- to still be “going at 90 mph” doing things for Adventist education.
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