Veterans say despite their background and expertise fighting in wars, the incident was something that really scared them. They said they’ve never felt threatened in terms of safety and they still haven’t since. Now, everything has started to go back to normal.
The remaining memorial serves were a reminder of the darkest time in the 134 year history of Yountville's Veterans Home but the light has returned to the 600-acre facility
Steve Rozynski was in the building next door to the Pathway Home when terror struck on March 9.
"I heard some pops and said, 'That sounds like gunshots,'" Rozynski said. "The echo is so bad and everyone is going, 'No, no, no. Not gunshots.'"
In the days since the shooting, Rozynski's therapy dog, Obee, has provided comfort to hundreds of veterans on campus.
"He’s got a lot of work around here to do. So, we keep busy," Rozynski said.
Keeping busy is helping the healing process, a process Donna Steiger, who served in World War II, said came out of the shock of the incident:
"Everybody's trying to find normal. We sort of had a cloud over the area. People were coming back, you could tell they were kind of silent between us. When we would talk, we wouldn’t talk as much because everyone was in their own thoughts and their own things about what was going on. So, gradually, now you're beginning to hear laughter, people are beginning to be more friendly and kind of come out of it to a degree. But it will never go away with the people that were here that that happened."
Steiger said their shared experiences as veterans have helped form a bond that enables healing.
"It’s helped everybody cope. If we didn’t have each other, I don’t know what would have happened," Steiger said.
The Pathway Home remains closed and their services to post 9/11 veterans were suspended indefinitely.
"It’s back to normal. No one is walking around scared or anything," said Dick Sutton, who has lived at the Veterans Home for three years.
Although Sutton says the day of the shooting was scary, he never worries about the safety of the home, something that has been called into question since the shooting.
"I don’t feel unsafe. No, and I don’t hear that from the general population. It’s an open campus, it’s open to the public," Sutton said. "People can roam around all of our public buildings. The activities building and the arts and crafts and what have you. And we encourage that."
Steiger and Sutton agree that if anything good can come out of this tragedy, it’s that veterans know there is a place for them to call home as they get older.
"This was a well-kept secret before this tragedy. I drove by this place for 35 years," Sutton said. "I always thought it was for disabled veterans. That’s not the case. Most of the population is independent, we take care of ourselves."
FOX40 reached out to the Pathway Home for an update on their situation but did not hear back.