Lake Tahoe postal worker grateful for support after car crash
December 27, 2018
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — When Nellie Farafonova left work on Nov. 8, the longtime local U.S. Postal Service employee decided to stop off at the home of a favorite customer.
The woman, who Farafonova would visit occasionally and pray with, had lost her driver's license. The dedicated postal employee decided she would hand deliver her mail.
While en route, another vehicle ran through a red light and struck the driver side of Farafonova's vehicle — completely turning her life upside-down the process.
"This guy took everything away from me in an instant," she said.
According to Nevada Highway Patrol, the crash occurred at the intersection of Nevada Route 28 and Northwood Boulevard. The at-fault driver initially left the scene of the crash on foot, but returned about 10 minutes later while the incident was still being investigated.
He was issued a citation for failing to yield the right-of-way to the other vehicle, according to NHP.
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The crash sparked an online call for support from locals who described Farafonova, an Incline resident of nearly 25 years, as a crucial — and kind — member of the community.
In the month and a half since the incident, Farafonova has had to adjust to a life much different that the one she lived up until that moment. The crash left her with bruises, plenty of confusion stemming from a concussion and several broken bones in her foot.
When the doctor told her she would likely have to undergo surgery she started "freaking out."
"This is the busy season," she remarked, noting the massive uptick in mail and packages around the holidays. "I begged the doctor to put me in a boot so I could try to work."
Earlier this week she learned she likely will not need the surgery — a bit of good news that had her smiling more than usual.
While conceding that the holiday season, with its long days, does come with a slight bump in take home pay, Farafonova said her biggest concern is the functioning of an already-short-staffed branch. The customers still need to get their mail.
"It couldn't have come at a worse time," she said in early December.
As damaging as her medical injuries have been, the loss of her vehicle was perhaps the most costly loss stemming from the whole ordeal.
Her car was totaled and the net insurance payout amounted to less than $100. At the urging of friends and regular customers at the Post Office, Farafonova launched a GoFundMe campaign (www.gofundme.com/6gob33c). She set an original goal of $2,500 to help her get a new vehicle. However, the goal was set before she received her first medical bill. As of press deadline Thursday, donations to Farafonova's campaign totaled $2,305.
"I can't thank people enough," she said. "From the bottom of my heart, it means more to me than I can say."
However, spend a brief moment scrolling through the comments on her GoFundMe page, and it is easy to understand the reason for the support she has received.
Commenters use phrases such as "hard worker" and "ray of sunshine" to describe Farafonova.
The incident has not been easy to deal with, especially the stress from unplanned expenses and the difficulties of not having a car. Farafonova said she has relied on her faith and belief in God.
"I was really leaning on him," she said. "It was really stressful."
The outpouring of support also has helped.
"Believe me, it's very emotional for me," she said. "It's very humbling for me to think that people care enough about me that much.
"It means more than you could ever know."