Douglas club members raise funds for fire victims

DRESSLERVILLE - Of all the members of the Native American Club at Douglas High School, Kyle Koos is usually the one who shows up early and stays late at club functions.

When the club held its annual Indian taco sale to raise money for a trip to Six Flags, Koos probably worked 12 hours, said adviser Lori Pasqua.

"As long as he has a ride, he's there," Pasqua said.

That's why club members voted to give $200 to the sophomore and his father John to begin replacing items they lost in a fire May 24 that destroyed all their possessions and their home in Dresslerville.

"The only thing he said he wanted was his guitar," said Jordan Jim, 18, a senior. "A lot of people are sad about what happened."

Jim said his classmate is quiet and keeps to himself.

"He minds his own business," Jim said. "We just want to wish him the best."

Koos and his father were absent for Thursday's club meeting, busy trying to pick up the pieces of their life that were scattered by the fire that was classified as arson.

A neighbor, David Lester James, 40, charged with arson in the case, remained in custody in Washoe County Jail on $15,500 bail.

East Fork Fire Capt. Terry Taylor said the 900-square-foot home and contents were a total loss. He estimated damage at $150,000-$160,000.

Because the fire happened on the reservation, the incident is under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"The investigation is still ongoing," said Todd Palmer, FBI spokesman in Las Vegas. "The FBI is working very closely with the Washoe tribal police and the BIA coordinating their efforts."

Pasqua, education adviser for American Indian students at the high school, said the family had no insurance and their housing had not been provided through the Washoe Tribe.

John Koos' three daughters, ages 3, 11 and 14, are with their mother in Arizona.

The house was moved to the Indian community in 1962 from the "s" curve in Gardnerville near the old Shell station. Originally from Virginia City, the house was purchased by Kyle's grandparents, Norman and Justine Koos.

"Kyle misses his home," Pasqua said. "He just can't believe it. He keeps saying, 'I wish I could just go home.'"

n Sheila Gardner may be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 214.


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