Douglas High graduate comes home from the sea |

Douglas High graduate comes home from the sea

Record Courier Staff Reports

When I first spoke with Natalie Nicole Lopez in November 2002, she had just completed Navy basic training and was getting ready to report for duty on the USS Bremerton.

Nicole graduated from Douglas High School in 2002, the daughter of another Douglas High grad, Bambi Kido of Sparks and Gardnerville Resident Joe Lopez.

According to her grandmother, Carson City resident Nancy Dickson, Natalie wrapped up her four-year term on Nevada Day. During her time in the service she became a master at arms, a wife and a mother.

When I last saw Natalie, she was going to sea without a rate, which is what we call a specialty in the Navy.

She decided to become a master-at-arms, in other words, a ships’ police officer. As a master-at-arms, she learned to handle a firearm and served on shore patrol.

Her grandmother said Natalie got to go to Hong Kong, Australia, Guam, Maui and spend six months in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Bahrain

Natalie took the word shipmate literally when she married fellow sailor Rick Gutierrez in July 2005. They are the parents of Diego James Gutierrez born on Aug. 8 at Whidbey Island, Wash.

Rick re-upped for another hitch and the couple lives at Point Mugu Naval Base, Ventura, Calif.

In addition to her parents, Natalie has a brother, Sparky Lopez, of Sparks and Aunt Heidi Wood of Carson City. Her grandparents are Esther Lopez of Gardnerville, James Wood of North Carolina and Dave and Nancy Dickson of Carson City.

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I heard from Renea Louie last Friday when the roads were all slicked out with rain.

Renea was on Highway 395 at about 6 a.m. [driving] at about 20 mph in her four-wheel drive when she saw a car spinning across the middle divider and into her lanes.

“I only had one second to decide what to do,” she said in an e-mail she sent that morning. “I veered right into the ditch and he missed me by inches, I don’t know how we didn’t hit. The four cars behind me all took similar actions and somehow every single one of us did not get hit. It was like a movie. I was listening to ‘Jesus is Love, He Won’t Let You Down’ and will never forget it.”

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We decided to move the 5-minute R-C out onto the front page after trying it out on Sunday.

There was some debate early on about putting the feature out front, but decided that it was best for page 3 at the time. Don’t know why we thought that, because it makes a great page 1 rail feature.

n Kurt Hildebrand is editor of The Record-Courier. Reach him at or 782-5121, ext. 215