Thursday, August 14, 2014
POST 1403; AUGUST 14, 2014; PATEROS, WASHINGTON
302 local homes gracing the orchard studded hillsides are no longer, having been burned. This fire burned so hot, only WHITE ash remained. All else is gone.
A local orchard warehouse has been pressed into service to receive the vast mount of DONATIONS being delivered by private and commercial vehicles from across the 300 x 200 mile wide Washington State . Washington State is one of four States with in-house Disaster Relief Program; meaning our Federal Programs and vaunted Social National Programs - say Red Cross ... say FEMA - are NOT welcome...unless specifically requested by the State of Washington.
SAM and ME have been welcomed, housed - my tent - and now Miss JAMIE's Motor Home - and transported to the FIRE Work Station - the "SHED", where I have volunteered to help in any and all ways with the relief and recovery effort underway since the first flames were noticed back on July 17, 2014.
Today I was only one of a number of Volunteers from distant Washington State towns...such as WANATCHEE and the tiny village of ELMA, Wsshington. receiving, sorting, classifying and re-packing thousands of pieces of clothing.
The hundreds of sorted boxes are being delivered to a vacant building on the waterfront (Columbia River) where a systematic program of distribution to those in need, beginning this Monday, August 17, will continue for the next full YEAR.
I was told that the local Senior Citizens Program refused assistance until the "Powers That Be" reminded them that they lost electrical power for many days, resulting in spoilage of all their frozen foods. Many other stories are making the rounds. I am enjoying my FIRST purchased dinner since arriving in PATEROS. Walking into the Restaurant, locals were overheard re-living the moment of destruction of their homes.
Still, looking and listening gives one a reassuring feeling that all is under control...even as three separate local fires continue to burn.
MOLLY and HEATHER, are COMMAND CENTER for the Recovery Program. MOLLY has taken me under her wing...determined to find me a new Tent (mine, after no use for 4 years, leaked like a sieve two nights ago. All things inside the tent were soaked by the thundering downpour. At 3:00 am - middle of the night - I ventured out - naked - ) pulled the ground cover from beneath the tent, loped it over the tent, staking the corners securely into the ground and returned to my soaked sleeping bag.
Moments later, the rain stopped ! MURPHY at work !
From my dinner table, the last rays of sun are playing on the serene waters of the COLUMBIA RIVER.
PEARS are supposed to be picked this week. Apple pickers will arrive (mostly immigrants and their families) in a week or so.
Life goes on.
I am pleased to be here to do my bit.
SAM sits outside JAMIE's Motor Home, covered with our Ground Cloth - she got wet in the tent debacle - , ready to continue our Walk and Roll across America. We will be carefully watching the long distant weather reports - mostly by looking up at the ever changing cloud formations - ready to duck into the most handy refuge we may encounter.
We, SAM and ME, will be OK.
But first, we have a job to do here in PATEROS, Washington.
...and yes, you will be included by our Blog updates...perhaps a bit belated if I am asked to work late.