Hawaii wildfires: Orange County couple helps 83-year-old man reunite with family

Rob Hayes Image
Tuesday, August 15, 2023
Hawaii wildfires: OC couple helps 83-year-old man reunite with family
An elderly man with dementia lost contact with his family as wildfires devastated Maui, but an Orange County couple on vacation came to his rescue.

DANA POINT, Calif. (KABC) -- A Dana Point couple are being called Good Samaritans for spending several days caring for an elderly man with dementia as a wildfire ripped across Maui last week, leaving much of the island without power, phone or internet services.

Doug and Nancy Elliott were vacationing in Kaanapali, just a few miles away from the fire-ravaged city of Lahaina, when they noticed 83-year-old Dominic Landolfi was alone in the resort's lobby.

Landolfi, a retired insurance agent and Air Force veteran, lives on the 10th floor of the building, which because of power outages, had no working elevators. The stores were all closed and food was running short.

"For three days, Dom was kind of our focus," Nancy Elliott said. "We wanted to make sure he was taken care of... He's in the beginning stages of dementia."

"We'd meet him down in the lobby every morning and stay with him until five or six at night, make sure he had food and things like that," Doug Elliott said.

Because power and phone service was down, the Elliotts also knew Landolfi's family had to be worried about him. They were right.

"All communication was cut," said Vickie Avetisian, Landolfi's daughter who lives on Kauai. "We couldn't get through to anybody. Couldn't get through to hospitals or anything... I started to panic."

Eventually, cell service returned and the couple was able to reach Avetisian, letting her know her father was doing fine.

"The Elliotts were incredible," Avetisian told Eyewitness News. "They told me I didn't have to worry, that they were going to take care of him no matter what... It was such a relief."

Avetisian was able to book a flight for Landolfi and the Elliotts took him to the airport, making sure he got on the plane. When he landed in Kauai, Avetisian sent the Elliotts a photo showing Landolfi with her and her husband.

"Just seeing the picture of him with his family, just made it all just so incredibly worth it," Nancy said.

"They went above and beyond what anybody would have done and from the bottom of my heart, I can never thank them enough," Avetisian said.